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National Climate Summary – Autumn 2006

9 June 2006

National Climate Summary – Autumn 2006

- Rainfall: Extremely high in Northland, Auckland, and Bay of Plenty;
extremely low in Central Otago
- Temperature: Near average throughout much of New Zealand
- Sunshine: Sunny in Southland

Autumn rainfall was extremely high in Northland, Auckland, and Waikato, and parts of Bay of Plenty, and extremely low in parts of Central Otago. Seasonal mean temperatures were above average in Auckland, Coromandel, western Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Golden Bay, and parts of Waikato, and below average in parts of South Canterbury, and North Otago. The national average autumn temperature of 13.3 °C was 0.1 °C below normal.

However, March was unusually cool, and April was rather mild. Sunshine hours for autumn were near above normal in Southland, and below normal in Golden Bay, and north Canterbury. The overall autumn climate pattern was dominated by frequent troughs or depressions (‘lows’) over New Zealand, with more frequent northeasterlies over the lower half of the South Island.

Major Highlights:

- The highest temperature recorded during the autumn was 30.2 °C recorded at Ashburton Airport on 14 March. The lowest temperature for the autumn was -5.9 °C at Lake Tekapo on 15 May.

- There were eleven high rainfall events, at least six of which resulted in flooding – the most severe was that of 24-25 April, during which time much of the Taieri Plains including Mosgiel were flooded, as well as the towns of Oamaru and Waitati.

- The highest wind gust for the autumn was 150 km/h from the northwest at Castlepoint on 1 March. Storm force southerlies occurred in Cook Strait on 3 March. Four tornadoes were reported, the most destructive occurring near Waimate on 8 March, destroying a large historic homestead.

- Wintry conditions occurred with a cold southerly outbreak during 14-15 May, with snow closing several high country South Island roads, and the North Island’s Desert Road.

Of the five main centres, Auckland was easily the wettest, but also the sunniest. Rainfall was above average in Auckland, Hamilton, and Christchurch, and near average in Wellington and Dunedin. Temperatures were above average in Auckland, and Hamilton, near average in Wellington and Dunedin, and below average in Christchurch. Autumn sunshine hours were below average in Christchurch, and near average in the four other main centres.

Rainfall: Autumn rainfall was at least 150 percent (one and a half) of normal in Northland, Auckland, and Waikato, and parts of Bay of Plenty. Rainfall was also above normal in Thames, Coromandel, Taupo, Gisborne, North Westland, Nelson, and mid-Canterbury. In contrast, rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of normal in parts of Central Otago. Totals were also below normal in parts of Marlborough, South Westland, Fiordland, and Southern Lakes.
Temperature: Seasonal mean temperatures were near average throughout much of New Zealand.

However, they were above average in Auckland, Coromandel, western Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Golden Bay, and parts of Waikato. Temperatures were below average in parts of South Canterbury, and North Otago.
Sunshine: Sunshine hours were near normal in most regions. However, they were at least 110 percent of normal in Southland, and 90 percent of normal in Golden Bay, and north Canterbury.

EXTREMELY HIGH AUTUMN RAINFALL IN NORTHLAND, AUCKLAND, AND BAY OF PLENTY; EXTRMELEY LOW RAINFALL IN CENTRAL OTAGO

Rainfall was at least 150 percent of normal in Northland, Auckland, and Waikato, and parts of Bay of Plenty, and at least 125 percent (one and a quarter) of normal in Thames, Coromandel, Taupo, Gisborne, North Westland, Nelson, and mid-Canterbury. In contrast, rainfall was less than 50 percent of normal in parts of Central Otago. Totals were less than 75 percent (three quarters) of normal in parts of Marlborough, South Westland, Fiordland, and Southern Lakes.

Near or record autumn rainfall was recorded at:

Location Autumn 2006
rainfall
(mm) Percentage
of normal Year
Records began Comments
Kaitaia Observatory 494 162 1985 Highest
Whangaparaoa AWS 441 184 1987 Highest
Auckland, Henderson 482 154 1986 Highest
Te Puke 647 147 1973 2nd highest
Rotorua Airport 531 161 1964 2nd highest
Auckland Airport 414 154 1962 3rd highest
Clyde EWS 45 43 1983 2nd lowest


ABOVE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN AUCKLAND, COROMANDEL, WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY, WAIKATO, NELSON, AND GOLDEN BAY; BELOW AVERAGE IN SOUTH CANTERBURY AND NORTH OTAGO

Seasonal mean temperatures were near average throughout much of New Zealand. However, they were more than 0.5 °C above average in Auckland, Coromandel, western Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Golden Bay, and parts of Waikato. Temperatures were more as much as 1.0 °C below average in parts of South Canterbury, and North Otago.


SUNNY IN SOUTHLAND

Sunshine hours were near normal in most regions. However, they were at least 110 percent of normal in Southland, and 90 percent of normal in Golden Bay, and north Canterbury.


AUTUMN CLIMATE IN THE FIVE MAIN CENTRES

Of the five main centres, Auckland was easily the wettest, but also the sunniest. Rainfall was above average in Auckland, Hamilton, and Christchurch, and near average in Wellington and Dunedin. Temperatures were above average in Auckland, and Hamilton, near average in Wellington and Dunedin, and below average in Christchurch. Autumn sunshine hours were below average in Christchurch, and near average in the four other main centres.

Location Autumn
Mean
Temp.
(°C) Dep.
from normal
(°C) Autumn
rainfall
(mm) % of
normal Autumn Sunshine
(hours) % of
normal
Auckland 16.6 +0.5 Above average 474 a 157 Well above average 502 105 Near average

Hamilton 15.1 +0.7 Above average 363 130 Above average 479 100 Near average
Wellington 13.6 -0.1 Near average 315 102 Near average 451 95 Near average
Christchurch b 11.6 -0.4 Below average 221 138 Above average 425 88 Below average
Dunedin 11.4 -0.2 Near average 209 104 Near average 380 105 Near average
a Owairaka, b Christchurch Airport

HIGHLIGHTS AND EXTREME EVENTS

Temperature
- The highest temperature recorded during the autumn was 30.2 °C recorded at Ashburton Airport on 14 March.
- The lowest temperature for the autumn was -5.9 °C at Lake Tekapo on 15 May.

High rainfall

- March: High rainfall, totalling 50-90 mm was recorded in Northland in the 24 hours to 9 am on 8 March. Rainfall totalling at least 90 mm was recorded in Gisborne in the 48 hours to 9 am on the 24 March. Another high rainfall event, associated with ex-tropical cyclone ‘Wati’, affected Northland in the 48 hours to 9 am on 27 March, with 2-day totals of 147 mm at Kaikohe and 143 mm at Kerikeri.

- April: High rainfall in Papakura, Auckland, on 18 April, with people having evacuating their homes due to flooding. Severe flooding in North and East Otago over 24-25 April. Much of the Taieri Plains including Mosgiel were flooded, as well as the towns of Oamaru and Waitati. Motorists were stranded overnight in their cars. The same weather system brought heavy snowfall to the Remarkable’s in West Otago, as well as Coronet Peak and Cardrona. Flooding in the Hauraki/Coromandel and Auckland regions during 27-28 April. Floodwaters resulted in the closure of the Karangahake Gorge Road between Paeroa and Waihi, and SH26 between Pareoa and Te Aroha. Flooding also occurred in Whangamata, Pauanui, and Auckland’s North Shore.

- May: High rainfall events were also frequent in May, occurring in various districts on 2, 6, 12-13, 20-22, and 25-26 May. Substantial surface flooding occurred in Silverdale, north of Auckland on 6 May, in parts of Christchurch on 12 May, and in Tasman on 22 May.

High winds and tornadoes

- The highest wind gust for the autumn was 150 km/h from the northwest at Castlepoint on 1 March.

- Storm force southerlies occurred in Cook Strait on 3 March. A tornado occurred at a Hinemoana Downs farm near Waimate at about 2 pm on 8 March, destroying a large 23 room historic homestead. Two sheds were also damaged. North easterly gales affected exposed parts of Northland on 26 March, with a gust of 141 km/h at Cape Reinga. Tornado-like winds damaged property on the Kapiti coast during the morning of 8 April, and at Leamington (Waikato) on 20 April. On 11 May, a small tornado lifted half a roof off a Ruawai (Kaipara) house.

Hail, snow, and thunderstorms

- Hail occurred during thunderstorms in Wellington on 9 March, resulting in the closure of the airport for a short period of time.

- On 8 May, lightning struck a tree in Auckland, shattering at least 16 nearby windows, burning out electrical appliances, and resulting in a localised power outage.

- Wintry conditions occurred with a cold southerly outbreak during 14-15 May. In Canterbury, snowfall closed Burkes Pass with several vehicles stranded. Snowfall also occurred between Te Anau and Milford, as well as the Cashmere Hills. In the North Island, snowfall closed the Desert Road. The same event produced gale force southerlies with high seas in Cook Strait, and hail in parts of Auckland.

ENDS

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