Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

2009: extreme temperature swings


NIWA MEDIA RELEASE: 13 JANUARY 2010


New Zealand national climate summary

2009: extreme temperature swings

New Zealand’s climate for 2009 was characterised by frequent see-saws in temperature. Heat waves occurred in January and the start of February; May was the coldest on record; October had its lowest temperatures since 1945; and August was the warmest August ever. In individual months (especially September and November), daily temperatures frequently broke long-standing records, with extremely cold temperatures often occurring within a week or so of record hot events. Overall, there were two months with above average temperatures and four with below average temperatures.

For the year as a whole, temperatures were near average (within 0.5°C of the long-term average) for most of the country, but were between 0.5 and 1.0°C cooler than average in parts of Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, southern Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington, Marlborough, inland Canterbury, and eastern Otago. The national average temperature for 2009 was 12.3°C, 0.2°C below the long-term normal. The years 2000-2009 were a warm decade overall, with a 10-year average temperature of 12.6°C, 0.1°C above the 1971-2000 normal.

Rainfall during the year was below normal (50 to 80 percent of normal) in parts of Auckland, central North Island, northern Hawkes Bay, southern Wairarapa, north Canterbury, inland south Canterbury, and central Otago. Other areas received near-normal rainfall.

Nelson was the sunniest centre in 2009, recording 2571 hours, followed by Tauranga with 2540 hours, then Blenheim with 2477 hours.

Of the main centres, Tauranga was the warmest and sunniest, Wellington was the wettest, and Christchurch was the driest.

The broad climate setting changed from La Niña at the start of the year, to moderate El Niño conditions by the spring of 2009.

Notable climate features of 2009 (in various parts of the country) included the record warmth of January, the heatwaves of early February, and the record cold and extreme wet of May. At the end of June, Gisborne declared a State of Emergency due to flooding. An unusually icy, snowy period prevailed throughout June and July, followed by the record warmth of August, which contributed to a severe avalanche season. Unseasonable snowfalls then characterised the coldest October in 64 years. An extremely windy and dry November and December followed, resulting in significant soil moisture deficits in Northland, Central North Island, Canterbury, and Otago.

© Copyright NIWA 2010. All rights reserved.


Section 1: The year in review

Broadly speaking, the overall climate (with clear geographical exceptions) was as follows:
• January: Very dry and sunny. Record warm in eastern areas.
• February: Heat waves at start, then a cool change. Wet and cloudy.
• March: Extremely dry, very sunny, and cool.
• April: A month of contrasts.
• May: Coldest May on record. Very wet.
• June and July: Cold and snowy.
• August: Warmest August ever. Very dry in eastern areas.
• September: Very sunny, with extreme temperature swings.
• October: Coldest October since 1945. Unseasonable snow.
• November: Extremely dry and windy, with extreme temperature swings.
• December: Sunny and dry, particularly in the north and east

January: Very dry and sunny; record warmth in eastern areas

January rainfall was less than half of normal over much of the country, the exceptions being Gisborne and Southland (with well above normal rainfall) and Manawatu and northern Taranaki (receiving near normal rainfall). At the end of January, soil moisture levels were below normal for most North Island areas except Gisborne and northern Manawatu, as well in Tasman district, northern Westland, Canterbury and south Otago. It was a sunny month for most regions, except Southland and Otago. January temperatures were well above average along the South Island east coast from Kaikoura to Mosgiel, and several sites in Canterbury and Otago recorded their highest mean January maximum temperatures ever. It was also warmer than normal in the east of the North Island, western Bay of Plenty, inland Canterbury and Otago, and much of Southland.

February: Heat waves at start, then a cool change; wet and cloudy.

Temperatures flip-flopped from above average over the first 12 days of February (which included record high temperatures at numerous locations) to below average for the remainder of the month. Heatwave conditions were experienced over the country from 7 to 12 February when temperatures of 34°C or more occurred in many locations on each day. February was wet for most of country except in the southwest. It was also very cloudy, with most areas recording below normal sunshine totals.

March: Extremely dry, very sunny, and cool

Record low March rainfall was experienced in parts of Wairarapa, Marlborough, north Canterbury, north and central Otago. It was also very dry in other areas, except the western Bay of Plenty and eastern Otago. Record high March sunshine totals were observed in Northland, Auckland, King Country and the central South Island, and sunshine totals were also above normal elsewhere. It was a cool month, with below average temperatures over most of the country.

April: A month of contrasts

April was a month of contrasts. It was wet in the north and west, dry in the south and east; cool in the north and east, warm in the south and west. Exceptionally low rainfall for April (less than 20 percent of normal) occurred in southern Hawke’s Bay and Tararua District. This resulted in significant soil moisture deficits there. Other eastern areas of both islands, around Auckland, and along the south coast of the South Island received below normal April rainfall (between 20 and 60 percent of normal). In contrast, double normal April rainfall was recorded in Northland and parts of the West Coast and Southern Alps. April temperatures were below average over most of the central and eastern parts of the North Island, while parts of the West Coast, coastal Fiordland, Southland and south Otago were warmer than average by between 0.5 and 1.5 °C.


May: Coldest May on record; very wet

It was an extremely early start to winter. The lowest May temperatures ever recorded, and very wet conditions, were experienced in most regions of New Zealand.

June–July: Cold and snowy

June and July continued cold. Slow-moving winter anticyclones brought extremely frosty, yet sunny, conditions between 16 and 26 June. It was extremely wet in the east of the North Island in June, due to heavy rain on June 28-29th. A Civil Defence Emergency was established in the Gisborne District on 30 June, due to flooding and slips. There were three extreme snow/ice events in June, and seven in July.

August: Warmest ever; very dry in eastern areas

Nationally, it was the warmest August ever, since records began 155 years ago. All regions of New Zealand experienced record-high August mean temperatures, but extreme high daily maximum temperature records were also set in numerous locations on August 15-16, and August 28-30. The remarkable warmth of August, combined with heavy snowfall in previous months, resulted in a series of major avalanches in South Island alpine areas. It was very dry in eastern areas of both Islands, with rainfall totals less than half of August normal.

September: Very sunny, with extreme temperature swings

It was a very sunny start to spring, with sunshine totals between 110 and 140 percent of normal across the country. Although temperatures were close to normal for the month overall, extreme temperature swings were typical. It was record-breaking cold on September 5-6 in many locations, when a large anticyclone became slow-moving over the country; and record warm on September 14 in eastern areas of the South Island during an extremely strong northwesterly wind event. A deep, wintry low brought record-cold temperatures, high winds, and snow and ice to the South Island on the 24th.

October: Coldest October since 1945; unseasonable snow

Nationally, it was the coldest October in 64 years, with all-time record low October temperatures in many areas. Temperatures were more than 2.0°C below average throughout eastern and alpine areas of the South Island, as well as in the lower half of the North Island. Record low October temperatures were recorded on the 4th/5th in most North Island locations, and on the 9th at many South Island sites. The exceptionally heavy snow event on the 4th/5th in the Hawkes Bay and Central North Island was estimated to be the worst in October since 1967. Well above normal October rainfall was recorded in the east of the North Island, as well as in Wellington, Marlborough and parts of Canterbury. In comparison, it was very dry and extremely sunny on the West Coast of the South Island.

November: Extremely dry and windy with extreme temperature swings

November was extremely dry in the northeast of the North Island, and eastern South Island. Record low November rainfall was observed in Northland, parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Canterbury, Otago and inland Southland. By the end of November, significant soil moisture deficits were seen in the northeast of the North Island, especially Northland, as well the Kaikoura Coast, Canterbury and Otago. It was also an exceedingly windy month. Several extreme temperature swings were observed during the month, with record cold November temperatures reported in the first half of the month, and record hot conditions observed in the second half of November.

December: Very sunny in the north and east

December sunshine totals were well above normal in the north and east of the North Island and parts of North Canterbury. Well below normal rainfall was recorded in much of the Far North District for December. It was also drier-than-normal in Central North Island, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, southern Hawkes Bay, Tararua District, Wairarapa, Northern South Island, Canterbury and Otago. Soil moisture levels on 31 December 2009 were well below normal in the Far North, Central North Island and Eastern Bay of Plenty. Temperatures were near average (between -0.5°C and 0.5°C from average) for most of the country.

NIWA analyses of month-by-month records show:

• The highest annual average temperature for 2009 was 15.8°C at Whangarei, followed by Kaitaia and Kaikohe with an equal-second of 15.6°C.
• The highest recorded extreme temperature of the year (38.0°C) occurred in Culverden on 8 February. It was the highest February maximum temperature ever recorded at this location. The second highest temperature for the year was 37.8°C in Cheviot on 8 February and the third highest was 37.3°C in Wairoa (East Cape) recorded on 1 February.
• The lowest air temperature for the year was -11.7 ºC recorded at Middlemarch on 19 July, followed by -11.0°C at Lake Tekapo and -10.4°C at Tara Hills (both recorded on 14 July).
• The highest recorded wind gust for the year (as archived in the NIWA climate database) was 184 km/h at Southwest Cape, Stewart Island, on 4 November (a November record at this site), with equal-second 183 km/h gusts also recorded at Southwest Cape (8 February), Palmerston North (8 June), and White Island (20 June) during the year.
• Mount Cook received the top three highest 1-day rainfalls in 2009; being 341 mm on 27 April, 321 mm on 16 May and 295 mm on 26 April.
• The driest rainfall recording locations were Ranfurly in Central Otago with 263mm of rain for the year, followed by Clyde with 299 mm, and then Middlemarch with 365 mm.
• Of the regularly reporting gauges, Cropp River in the Hokitika River catchment recorded the highest rainfall with 10956 mm, followed by Doon (Fiordland) with 7266 mm and North Egmont with 7040 mm.
• Wellington was the wettest main centre with 1274 mm; in contrast Christchurch was the driest of the six main centres with 589 mm.
• Nelson was the sunniest centre in 2009, recording 2571 hours, followed by Tauranga (the sunniest of the main centres) with 2540 hours, then Blenheim with 2477 hours.
• Whakatane had instrument problems at the start of the year so an annual sunshine total could not be computed. However, their 8-month total from May to December (1614 hours) is only one hour less than the Nelson total over the same period so they will definitely be in the race for 2010.


Section 2: Prevailing climate patterns – Switch from La Niña to El Niño

Overall, mean sea level pressures were below average to the east of New Zealand in 2009, resulting in more frequent southerly winds than normal over the country. Warmer than normal sea temperatures prevailed around New Zealand from January to April, but enhanced southerly winds in May brought much colder than normal seas to our coasts, which generally prevailed for the remainder of the year.

The start of the year was dominated by a weakening La Niña event in the equatorial Pacific. During autumn and winter, the tropical Pacific climate was neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña). A weak El Niño developed in the tropical Pacific in early spring, and had strengthened to moderate intensity by November.

Over New Zealand, monthly wind-flow patterns were highly variable throughout the year:

• January: Settled, with frequent anticyclones. Warm, dry, and sunny.
• February: Heatwaves at first, but ended cold and unsettled in the south.
• March: Settled. Dry, sunny and cool.
• April: Wet in the north and west, dry in the south and east. More northerly winds than normal.
• May: Stormy and record cold; frequent southerly winds and snowfalls.
• June: Cold and frosty; with wintertime highs and frequent southerly winds.
• July: Cold, with frequent southwest winds and snowfalls.
• August: Record warm, with much more frequent northerly winds than normal.
• September: Settled, with stronger than normal northerly winds.
• October: Extremely cold, frequent southeast winds and uncommonly late snowfalls.
• November: Extremely windy and dry, with frequent strong southwest winds.
• December: More frequent southwesterly winds than normal.


Section 3: Temperature – Slightly cooler than average year

The national average temperature in 2009 was 12.3°C, 0.2°C below the 1971–2000 normal. In 2009, there were two months with above average temperatures and four with below average temperatures. The warmest location was Whangarei, with a mean temperature for the year of 15.8°C (0.1 °C above normal).

The average temperature during the decade 2000-2009 was 12.6°C, 0.1°C above the 1971-2000 normal. This continues the series of relatively warm decades experienced in New Zealand since the 1970s. From the historical 7-station series, the 2000s were just 0.02°C warmer than the 1980s (previously the warmest decade on record for New Zealand). From a separate 11-station series, the 2000s were 0.08–0.20°C warmer than the 1980s.

In Kaitaia, Warkworth, Dannevirke, and Le Bons Bay, 2009 was the coolest year on record (based on averaging the mean daily temperature).

Kaikohe and Appleby recorded their highest average maximum temperature on record and Kaitaia, Pukekohe and Dannevirke recorded their lowest average maximum temperature on record (based on averaging the maximum temperature recorded each day).

Taumarunui, Dannevirke, Hanmer, Le Bons Bay and Queenstown recorded their lowest average minimum temperature on record (based on averaging the minimum temperature recorded each day).

Table 1: Near or record high or low annual average temperatures for 2009:

Location / Mean temperature (°C) / Departure (°C) / Year records began / Comments
Mean Temperature / / / /
Kaikohe / 15.8 / 1.2 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 14.3 / -1.3 / 1967 / Lowest
Warkworth / 14.3 / -0.9 / 1966 / Lowest
Kumeu, Auckland / 14.0 / -0.4 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Pukekohe / 13.6 / -0.8 / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Port Taharoa / 14.6 / -0.5 / 1973 / 3rd-lowest
Taumarunui / 12.2 / -0.8 / 1947 / 4th-lowest
Dannevirke / 11.0 / -1.5 / 1951 / Lowest
Castlepoint / 13.1 / -0.9 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Martinborough / 12.3 / -0.8 / 1986 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 13.9 / -0.2 / 1972 / 3rd-lowest
Hawera / 12.1 / -0.3 / 1977 / 3rd-lowest
Wanganui / 13.2 / -0.6 / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / 12.0 / -0.6 / 1932 / 3rd-lowest
Arthurs Pass / 7.2 / -1.6 / 1973 / 4th-lowest
Waipara West / 11.9 / -0.3 / 1973 / 4th-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 11.0 / -0.3 / 1984 / Lowest
Manapouri / 9.0 / -0.8 / 1963 / 4th-lowest
Queenstown / 9.3 / -0.3 / 1871 / 4th-lowest
Lumsden / 9.2 / -0.5 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Balclutha, Telford / 9.5 / -0.9 / 1964 / 2nd-lowest
/ / / /
Mean Maximum Temperature / / / /
Kerikeri / 20.4 / 0.4 / 1981 / 3rd-highest
Kaikohe / 19.5 / 1.3 / 1973 / Highest
Whangaparaoa / 18.8 / 0.8 / 1982 / 4th-highest
Appleby / 18.5 / 1.1 / 1943 / Highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 18.2 / -1.3 / 1967 / Lowest
Dargaville / 18.3 / -1.3 / 1943 / 2nd-lowest
Pukekohe / 18.0 / -0.5 / 1969 / Lowest
Dannevirke / 15.4 / -1.5 / 1951 / Lowest
Castlepoint / 15.9 / -1.2 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Martinborough / 17.5 / -0.9 / 1986 / 4th-lowest
Ngawi / 17.0 / -0.2 / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Hawera / 16.1 / -0.5 / 1977 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui / 17.0 / -0.6 / 1987 / 4th-lowest
Arthurs Pass / 11.3 / -1.9 / 1973 / 3rd-lowest
Waipara West / 17.1 / -0.6 / 1973 / 3rd-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 14.3 / -0.2 / 1984 / 4th-lowest
Manapouri / 13.8 / -0.8 / 1963 / 4th-lowest
Gore / 13.6 / -0.6 / 1971 / 2nd-lowest
Balclutha, Telford / 14.1 / -1.1 / 1964 / 2nd-lowest
/ / / /
Mean Minimum temperature / / / /
Kaikohe / 12.0 / 0.9 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Cromwell / 5.6 / 0.8 / 1949 / 3rd-highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 10.4 / -1.4 / 1967 / 2nd-lowest
Warkworth / 10.1 / -1.5 / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Whangaparaoa / 12.4 / -0.3 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Kumeu, Auckland / 9.4 / -0.5 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Port Taharoa / 11.1 / -0.6 / 1973 / 2nd-lowest
Te Kuiti / 7.5 / -0.9 / 1959 / 2nd-lowest
Taumarunui / 6.2 / -1.2 / 1947 / Lowest
Takapau Plains / 6.6 / -0.9 / 1962 / 3rd-lowest
Dannevirke / 6.6 / -1.4 / 1951 / Lowest
Castlepoint / 10.3 / -0.7 / 1972 / 3rd-lowest
Martinborough / 7.1 / -0.8 / 1986 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 10.7 / -0.2 / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Waipawa / 6.2 / -1.1 / 1945 / 2nd-lowest
Wallaceville / 6.8 / -1.1 / 1939 / 3rd-lowest
Wanganui / 9.4 / -0.6 / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / 5.8 / -1.1 / 1932 / 2nd-lowest
Hanmer Forest / 2.6 / -1.3 / 1906 / Lowest
Le Bons Bay / 7.8 / -0.3 / 1984 / Lowest
Dunedin / 4.6 / -0.1 / 1947 / 2nd-lowest
Queenstown / 3.9 / -0.4 / 1871 / Lowest
Balclutha, Telford / 4.8 / -0.8 / 1964 / 2nd-lowest


New records for temperature extremes were set during the February 2009 heat wave, with extremely high day and night time temperatures especially in the east of the North Island.

Table 2: Near or record high or low annual temperature extremes for 2009:

Location / Temperature (°C) / Date of occurrence / Year records began / Comments
Highest extreme maximums / / / /
Whangarei / 30.7 / Jan-02nd / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Whakatane / 32.1 / Nov-24th / 1975 / Highest
Rotorua / 30.0 / Feb-09th / 1964 / 3rd-highest
Takapau Plains / 32.8 / Jan-08th / 1962 / Highest
Martinborough / 34.1 / Feb-08th / 1986 / 3rd-highest
Napier / 36.7 / Feb-01st / 1868 / Highest
Hastings / 37.1 / Feb-01st / 1965 / Highest
Wallaceville / 30.6 / Feb-08th / 1939 / 4th-highest
Hawera / 26.8 / Feb-08th / 1977 / 3rd-highest
Waiouru / 28.0 / Jan-08th / 1962 / 4th-highest
Takaka / 31.6 / Feb-07th / 1978 / Highest
Farewell Spit / 29.5 / Feb-08th / 1971 / Highest
Waipara West / 36.2 / Feb-08th / 1973 / 3rd-highest
Lumsden / 28.8 / Jan-24th / 1982 / 4th-highest
Nugget Point / 28.7 / Jan-25th / 1970 / Equal 4th-highest
/ / / /
Highest extreme minimums / / / /
Warkworth / 21.4 / Feb-12th / 1966 / Equal highest
Tauranga / 22.5 / Feb-11th / 1941 / Highest
Whakatane / 22.0 / Feb-12th / 1975 / Highest
Rotorua / 20.2 / Feb-12th / 1972 / 2nd-highest
Taupo / 19.9 / Feb-12th / 1950 / Equal 2nd-highest
Auckland Aero / 22.1 / Feb-12th / 1961 / 2nd-highest
Hamilton / 21.3 / Feb-12th / 1946 / 3rd-highest
Taumarunui / 20.9 / Feb-12th / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Hastings / 21.4 / Jan-03rd / 1972 / 3rd-highest
Waiouru / 17.4 / Feb-12th / 1972 / 3rd-highest
Nelson / 19.9 / Feb-10th / 1943 / Equal 4th-highest
Lake Tekapo / 20.8 / Feb-09th / 1928 / Highest
Tara Hills / 19.7 / Feb-09th / 1949 / 2nd-highest
Wanaka / 19.6 / Feb-09th / 1972 / 2nd-highest
Manapouri / 17.6 / Feb-09th / 1973 / 3rd-highest
Lumsden / 19.6 / Feb-09th / 1982 / Highest
Cromwell / 23.3 / Feb-09th / 1949 / Highest
Nugget Point / 15.6 / Jan-25th / 1972 / 3rd-highest
/ / / /
Lowest extreme maximums / / / /
Hamilton / 7.0 / May-22nd / 1946 / 4th-lowest
Stratford / 5.4 / May-31st / 1972 / Equal lowest
Hawera / 7.8 / Jul-11th / 1977 / Equal 2nd-lowest
Waiouru / 0.9 / Oct-05th / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Arthurs Pass / 0.2 / May-31st / 1973 / 2nd-lowest
Manapouri / 2.1 / Jun-22nd / 1973 / 4th-lowest
/ / / /
Lowest extreme minimums / / / /
Warkworth / -1.3 / Jun-05th / 1966 / Lowest
Port Taharoa / 0.5 / Jun-17th / 1973 / Lowest
Paraparaumu / -4.4 / Jun-08th / 1953 / 3rd-lowest
Hawera / -3.3 / Jun-08th / 1977 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / -5.5 / Jun-17th / 1932 / 4th-lowest


Section 4: Sunshine – Above normal in many locations

It was a sunny year, with most locations in New Zealand recording near or above normal sunshine totals. Sunshine hours were above normal in Northland, central areas of the North Island, East Cape, southern Hawke’s Bay, West Coast, Canterbury and southeast Otago. Kaitaia, Tauranga, Taumarunui and Greymouth experienced their sunniest years on record. The sunniest centre in 2009 was Nelson, recording 2571 hours, followed by Tauranga (the sunniest of the main centres) with 2540 hours, then Blenheim with 2477 hours. The Whakatane site had instrument problems at the start of the year so an annual total could not be computed. However, their 8-month total from May to December (1614 hours) is only one hour less than the Nelson total over the same period so they will definitely be in the race for 2010.

Table 3: Near or record high sunshine hours for the year 2009:

Location / Sunshine (hours) / Percent of normal / Records began / Comments
Kaitaia / 2326 / 111 / 1985 / Highest
Dargaville / 2067 / 110 / 1943 / 3rd-highest
Tauranga / 2540 / 113 / 1933 / Highest
Taumarunui / 2019 / 124 / 1947 / Highest
Waipawa / 2295 / 121 / 1945 / 3rd-highest
Greymouth / 2115 / 126 / 1947 / Highest
Balclutha, Telford / 1958 / 120 / 1964 / 2nd-highest


Section 5: Rainfall – Below normal in many areas

Rainfall during the year was below normal (50 to 80 percent of normal) in parts of Auckland, central North Island, northern Hawkes Bay, southern Wairarapa, north Canterbury, inland south Canterbury and central Otago. Other areas received near-normal rainfall.

Table 4: Near or record low annual rainfall for the year 2009:

Location / Rainfall (mm) / Percentage of normal / Year records
began / Comments
Whangarei / 1066 / 76 / 1937 / 4th-lowest
Taupo / 712 / 65 / 1949 / Lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 1273 / 79 / 1933 / 2nd-lowest
Wanaka / 495 / 66 / 1927 / 4th-lowest
Lumsden / 734 / 78 / 1982 / 2nd-lowest


Of the regularly reporting gauges monitored by NIWA, Cropp River in the Hokitika River catchment recorded the highest rainfall with 10956 mm, followed by Doon (Fiordland) with 7266 mm for 2009. Ranfurly in Central Otago was the driest of the sites where NIWA records rainfall, with 263 mm of rain for the year (62 percent of normal), followed by Clyde with 299 mm (72 percent of normal), and then Middlemarch with 365 mm (70 percent of normal).

Near record values of annual 1-day rainfall extremes occurred at only two localities; Kaitaia and Tara Hills.


Table 5: One day rainfall extremes for 2009:

Location / 1-day extreme rainfall (mm) / Date / Year records began / Comments
Kaitaia / 111 / Apr-25th / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Tara Hills / 70 / May-16th / 1949 / 2nd-highest


Section 6: 2009 climate in the six main centres

Tauranga was the warmest and sunniest of the six main centres (the Tauranga 2009 sunshine hours total was the highest ever at this location since records began in 1933). Wellington was the wettest of the main centres, and Christchurch was the driest.

Table 6: 2009 Climate in the six main centres

Location / Mean temp. (°C) / Departure from normal (°C) / / Rainfall (mm) / % of normal / / Sunshine (hours) / % of normal /
Aucklanda / 14.6 / -0.7 / Below average / 955 / 81% / Well below normal / 2176 / 108% / Above normal
Taurangab / 15.1 / 0.5 / Above average / 1221 / 101% / Near normal / 2540 / 113% / Highest
Hamiltonc / 13.2 / -0.3 / Below average / 1088 / 90% / Below normal / 2120g / 106% / Above normal
Wellingtond / 12.4 / -0.4 / Below average / 1274 / 106% / Above normal / 2079 / 101% / Near normal
Christchurche / 11.1 / -0.5 / Below average / 589 / 94% / Below normal / 2170 / 103% / Near normal
Dunedinf / 10.8 / -0.3 / Below average / 736 / 91% / Below normal / 1704 / 107% / Above normal
a Mangere b Tauranga Airport c Hamilton Airport d Kelburn e Christchurch Airport f Musselburgh g Ruakura


Section 7: Significant extremes

Floods
There were numerous heavy rainfall events during 2009, about fifteen of which produced significant flooding and property damage. The worst flooding events during 2009 were those of 27 April on the West Coast, 16-20 May in Canterbury, Otago, and alpine areas of the South Island, and 28-30 June in Gisborne and the Manawatu-Wanganui region (causing a State of Emergency to be declared in Gisborne).

On April 27, Mt Cook recorded 341 mm of rainfall (its highest April 1-day total since records began in 1928). Torrential rain also occurred in Greymouth on the 27th, and roads became impassable there. At least nine homes were evacuated on the eastern side of town. Flooding also forced the closure of SH6 at Punakaiki, and between Haast and Makarora. Trampers were stranded in the Mueller Hut in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, and about 120 people were evacuated from the Milford Track by helicopter. On 17 May, SH1 south of Ashburton, was closed for several hours after the Rangitata River burst its banks. The main railway line between Rangitata River and Temuka was also closed by flooding. Inland, 33 people were evacuated in Omarama, as water was up to 1 m deep in places after a stopbank designed to cope with a 100-year flood was overtopped. A major slip closed SH8, on the Omarama side of the Lindis Pass. On 18 May, farmers near Balclutha used boats to rescue sheep stranded by the flooded Clutha River. The Skippers Road in Queenstown was closed until further notice, after slips and washouts. The previous three days of rain had also damaged many roads in the Queenstown Lakes area, with access requiring four-wheel drive vehicles. On 29 June, heavy rain caused slips and the closure of SH4 between Raetihi and Wanganui. SH57 between Palmerston North and Linton was flooded, and slips occurred in the Manawatu Gorge. On 30 June, the residents of the small settlement of Mangatuna just out of Gisborne were evacuated following heavy rainfall. Many slips affected the Napier-Taupo Road, and SH2 between Napier and Wairoa, although both remained open. A Civil Defence Emergency was established in the Gisborne District on the morning of the 30th.

Snow
It was a very snowy year, with an extended snow season that started in April and finished in October. Numerous snowfall events, and the record warmth of August, contributed to a high-risk avalanche season in late winter/early spring. Significant snowfalls, which were widespread and to low levels, were observed 31 May, 16 June, 2-5 July, and 4-6 October.

On 31 May, snow and slips closed the highway between Opotiki and Gisborne as wintry conditions brought snow and ice to the country's roads. Snow fell to sea level along Wellington's south coast and from Southland to Kaikoura, and blanketed high-country passes, including the Rimutaka Hill Road summit and Desert Road. Snow settled to about 200 m inland and elsewhere around Canterbury, with about 8 cm on the ground near Springfield and in parts of Otago. On 16 June, Dunedin Airport and many roads were closed, after snow fell to low levels in Otago and Southland. Flights were cancelled and some schools in Dunedin were closed for the day. Heavy snow on 2-3 July closed the Desert Road between Rangipo and Waiouru overnight, and also closed the Haast Pass. Cromwell was cut off, and schools in the area were closed. A series of avalanches on 1-2 August blocked the only road access to Milford Sound for 10 days, as both ends of the Homer Tunnel were buried in more than 100,000 tonnes of debris. The snow on October 4 – 6 in the Hawkes Bay and Central North Island was exceptionally late and very heavy, and estimated to be the worst in October since 1967. Hundreds of travellers were stranded as numerous roads were closed, and there were heavy lambing losses. Snowfall was also observed in Taranaki, Waikato and Rotorua on 6 October, for the first time in about 30 years around Rotorua.

Wind
It was a very windy year overall, particularly in May.

Gale force winds on 3 January caused havoc in Canterbury, with more than 10,000 homes left without power. Strong winds buffetted Wellington on 15 and 17 May, damaging power lines and cutting power, cancelling flights and causing property damage. On 23-24 May, southerly gales hammered Wellington, closing roads, tearing boats from their moorings, and damaging trees, roofs and power lines. Cook Strait ferries were cancelled, and flights were delayed, cancelled or diverted. On 23 July, Wellington and the Wairarapa were affected by high winds, which brought down trees onto high voltage lines, briefly cutting power to about 4,000 customers from Masterton to Castlepoint. Further north, powerlines between Tokomaru Bay and Ruatoria were also damaged by the strong northwesterlies. On September 14th, record-high wind gusts were experienced over the southern half of the South Island during a storm-force northwesterly event. Damage included felled power lines and lifted roofs on the Otago peninsula, and in Arrowtown, a tree felled by the wind crashed onto a vehicle, killing the driver. Gusty cross-winds on 4-5 October forced the closure of New Plymouth airport for 20 hours. The strong winds also brought down trees and cut the power supply to about 1,000 properties in Taranaki, and about 1,200 homes in the Rotorua District. High winds, together with heavy snow, brought down trees and power poles across the central North Island, leaving about 1,300 people without power. Some properties were without power for four days. On 13-15 November, strong winds caused havoc in Canterbury and Masterton, grounding helicopters and planes, felling trees, and downing power lines.

Drought
Soil moisture levels at the end of January were below normal for much of the North Island (except Gisborne and northern Manawatu), as well as in the Tasman District, northern Westland, north and south Canterbury, and south Otago. Rainfall in the latter part of February returned soil moisture levels to near normal status across much of the country. By April, significant soil moisture deficits (more than 50 mm below normal levels) had re-developed in southern Hawkes Bay and the Tararua District, but were short-lived due to wet conditions in these areas in May. After a windy and extremely dry November, significant soil moisture deficits (more than 50 mm below normal levels) had developed in Otago, Canterbury, the Kaikoura coast, Northland, and parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, central North Island, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. However, rainfall in the first week of December returned soil moisture levels back to near normal in most regions, except Northland, central North Island, Bay of Plenty and Otago.


Further detailed information about significant climate and weather events for 2009 is attached.

--

Note for editors:

Climate measurements have been made in New Zealand for about 150 years, with reasonable coverage of reliable data from at least 1900. NIWA makes its raw climate data publicly available for free on-line. Journalists are advised, however, to take extreme care when interpreting trends from raw data to ensure they have not been compromised by changes in site location, urbanisation, exposure, or instrumentation over time. If in any doubt, please call us.


© Copyright NIWA 2010. All rights reserved.

Significant weather and climate events – 2009

Section 8: High temperatures

2009 was notable for two remarkably warm months (January and August), and a heat wave in early February. Many new records of extreme monthly maximum temperatures were established in these two months, as well as record high daily maximum temperatures on the following dates: 8, 16 and 24-25 January, 7 -12 February, 15, 25, 28, 30 August, 14 September, and 23-24, 29-30 November.

• January
January temperatures were well above average (between 1.5 and 2.5°C above normal) along the east coast of the South Island from Kaikoura to Mosgiel, with many January records set in this area. Above average temperatures (between 0.5 and 1.5°C above normal) were experienced in western Bay of Plenty, eastern North Island, inland Canterbury and Otago and much of Southland. The highest temperature during January 2009 was 37.2°C recorded at Waione in the Wairarapa on the 8th (the highest January maximum temperature for this location and the equal 9th highest January temperature for anywhere in New Zealand – the highest was 38.9°C in Ruatoria in January 1979). Culverdon also recorded 37.0°C on the 24th (the 2nd-highest January maximum temperature for this location). Takapau Plains (southern Hawkes Bay), Ohakune and Cheviot also received their highest ever January maximum temperatures with readings of 32.8°C and 30.0°C on the 8th, and 36.3°C on the 16th, respectively.

• Heatwave: 7 -12 February
The highest temperature during February 2009 was 38.0°C recorded at Culverden on the 8th (the highest February maximum temperature ever recorded for this location). Heatwave conditions were experienced over the country from 7 to 12 February, when temperatures of 34°C or more occurred in many locations on each day. Many locations experienced their highest recorded February maximum and minimum temperatures during the heat wave.

• August
It was an early start to spring. Temperatures were more than 2°C above average in central Otago and the Lakes District, and parts of: Canterbury, Northland, Auckland, and the western Bay of Plenty. Well above average temperatures (between 1.2°C and 2°C above average) were recorded elsewhere, except for Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay (with temperatures between 0.5°C and 1.2°C above average). It was the warmest August since records began 155 years ago, with a national average temperature of 10.2°C (1.7°C above the long-term August average). Maximum temperatures at many locations were the highest ever recorded for August.

• 14 September
The highest temperature during September 2009 was 29.0°C recorded at Alexandra on the 14th (a September record for this site), associated with severe north-westerly winds experienced over the southern South Island on that day. Numerous other locations also experienced record or near-record high September maximum temperatures on the 14th.

• 23-24, 29-30 November
Record or near-record warm afternoon conditions were experienced in the east of the South Island on 21 and 23 November, in strong north-westerly events. Several North Island climate stations also registered record high afternoon temperatures on the day after (the 24th), or on November 29 and 30, also associated with strong north-westerly winds.

• December
Kaikohe recorded its highest ever December temperature on the 26th (27.8°C). Gisborne, Napier, Blenheim and Arthurs Pass all recorded their highest ever December minimum temperatures during the month.


Table 7: Extremes of daily maximum temperature in 2009 were recorded at:

Location / Maximum temperature (°C) / Date of occurrence / Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Kaikohe / 28.4 / 1st / 1973 / 4th-highest
Whangarei / 30.7 / 2nd / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Whangaparaoa / 27.2 / 25th / 1982 / Equal 2nd-highest
Whitianga / 29.6 / 25th / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Turangi / 31.4 / 31st / 1968 / Equal highest
Takapau Plains / 32.8 / 8th / 1962 / Highest
East Taratahi / 34.6 / 8th / 1906 / 3rd-highest
Waione / 37.2 / 8th / 1992 / Highest
Martinborough / 33.3 / 31st / 1986 / 4th-highest
Wallaceville / 30.2 / 31st / 1939 / 3rd-highest
Ohakune / 30.0 / 8th / 1962 / Highest
Waiouru / 28.2 / 8th / 1962 / 2nd-highest
Takaka / 30.5 / 23rd / 1978 / 4th-highest
Farewell Spit / 27.9 / 31st / 1971 / Equal 2nd-highest
Lake Rotoiti / 31.0 / 26th / 1965 / Equal 2nd-highest
Puysegur Point / 23.4 / 24th / 1978 / Equal 2nd-highest
Appleby / 30.3 / 31st / 1943 / 4th-highest
Hanmer Forest / 34.7 / 24th / 1906 / 4th-highest
Culverden / 37.0 / 24th / 1928 / 2nd-highest
Cheviot / 36.3 / 16th / 1982 / Highest
Waipara West / 35.2 / 16th / 1973 / 4th-highest
Darfield / 35.4 / 25th / 1939 / 2nd-highest
Christchurch / 35.7 / 8th / 1863 / 3rd-highest
Lincoln / 35.0 / 8th / 1881 / Equal 4th-highest
Le Bons Bay / 30.6 / 8th / 1984 / 2nd-highest
Woodbury / 34.0 / 23rd / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Dunedin / 32.0 / 23rd / 1947 / 3rd-highest
Gore / 30.4 / 24th / 1971 / 2nd-highest
Tiwai Point / 29.0 / 24th / 1970 / 2nd-highest
Nugget Point / 28.7 / 25th / 1970 / Equal 2nd-highest
February / / / /
Kaitaia / 30.4 / 7th / 1985 / Highest
Kerikeri / 28.9 / 8th / 1981 / Equal 4th-highest
Kaikohe / 31.6 / 8th / 1973 / Highest
Whangarei Aero / 30.5 / 12th / 1967 / Equal 2nd-highest
Warkworth / 29.4 / 12th / 1966 / Highest
Whangaparaoa / 28.5 / 8th / 1982 / Highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 31.3 / 12th / 1978 / Highest
Whenuapai / 32.4 / 12th / 1945 / Highest
Whitianga Aero / 31.9 / 8th / 1962 / Highest
Paeroa / 32.2 / 8th / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Te Puke / 30.7 / 8th / 1973 / Equal 2nd-highest
Rotorua Aero / 30.0 / 9th / 1964 / 2nd-highest
Taupo / 30.4 / 8th / 1949 / 4th-highest
Whatawhata / 31.5 / 18th / 1952 / Highest
Turangi / 32.6 / 8th / 1968 / Highest
Takapau Plains / 30.7 / 8th / 1962 / Equal 4th-highest
Castlepoint / 31.5 / 8th / 1972 / Highest
East Taratahi / 33.6 / 8th / 1906 / 4th-highest
Martinborough / 34.1 / 8th / 1986 / Highest
Ngawi / 30.2 / 8th / 1972 / Equal 3rd-highest
Hicks Bay / 28.2 / 8th / 1969 / 2nd-highest
Gisborne / 34.6 / 1st / 1905 / 3rd-highest
Napier Aero / 36.7 / 1st / 1868 / Highest
Waipawa / 33.8 / 8th / 1945 / 2nd-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 37.3 / 1st / 1964 / Highest
Wallaceville / 30.6 / 8th / 1939 / 3rd-highest
Ohakune / 30.0 / 8th / 1962 / Equal highest
Waiouru / 28.0 / 8th / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Takaka / 31.6 / 7th / 1978 / 2nd-highest
Farewell Spit / 29.5 / 8th / 1971 / Highest
Lake Rotoiti / 31.3 / 8th / 1965 / Highest
Motueka, Riwaka / 30.5 / 8th / 1956 / 4th-highest
Appleby / 29.7 / 8th / 1943 / 4th-highest
Blenheim Aero / 34.1 / 9th / 1932 / 2nd-highest
Hanmer Forest / 35.7 / 8th / 1906 / 3rd-highest
Culverden / 38.0 / 8th / 1928 / Highest
Cheviot / 37.8 / 8th / 1982 / Highest
Winchmore / 35.2 / 8th / 1928 / Equal 4th-highest
Waipara West / 36.2 / 8th / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Darfield / 36.4 / 8th / 1939 / 2nd-highest
Le Bons Bay / 30.9 / 9th / 1984 / 2nd-highest
Woodbury / 35.0 / 8th / 1973 / 2nd-highest
March / / / /
Kaitaia Observatory / 26.6 / 6th / 1985 / 4th-highest
Kerikeri / 27.8 / 6th / 1981 / 3rd-highest
Kaikohe / 26.9 / 6th / 1973 / Highest
Whangarei Aero / 28.6 / 6th / 1967 / 2nd-highest
Whangaparaoa / 25.7 / 1st / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Whakatane Aero / 27.7 / 3rd / 1975 / 4th-highest
Puysegur Point / 24.9 / 5th / 1978 / 2nd-highest
Tiwai Point / 27.0 / 5th / 1970 / 2nd-highest
April / / / /
Takapau Plains / 25.9 / 27th / 1962 / Highest
Castlepoint / 24.5 / 27th / 1972 / 4th-highest
Milford Sound / 22.6 / 25th / 1934 / Equal 4th-highest
Puysegur Point / 20.7 / 15th / 1978 / 3rd-highest
Woodbury / 27.0 / 4th / 1973 / Equal 4th-highest
Dunedin / 26.8 / 26th / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Cromwell / 27.0 / 16th / 1949 / 2nd-highest
Nugget Point / 24.9 / 26th / 1970 / Highest
June / / / /
Kaitaia / 20.0 / 11th / 1985 / Equal 3rd-highest
July / / / /
Waipara (Canterbury) / 19.7 / 31st / 1973 / 4th-highest
August / / / /
Kaikohe / 19.0 / 28th / 1973 / Equal 2nd-highest
Dargaville / 20.5 / 30th / 1943 / Equal 4th-highest
Whangarei / 20.9 / 28th / 1967 / Highest
Warkworth / 18.9 / 30th / 1966 / 2nd-highest
Whangaparaoa / 19.2 / 28th / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 20.0 / 30th / 1978 / Highest
Whenuapai (West Auckland) / 19.4 / 30th / 1945 / Equal 4th-highest
Takapau Plains / 18.5 / 30th / 1962 / 4th-highest
Martinborough / 19.2 / 30th / 1986 / 4th-highest
Ngawi (coastal Wairarapa) / 18.7 / 15th / 1972 / Equal 3rd-highest
Gisborne / 21.5 / 30th / 1905 / 3rd-highest
Hastings / 22.2 / 26th / 1965 / Equal 2nd-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 21.4 / 30th / 1964 / Equal 4th-highest
Paraparaumu / 21.0 / 15th / 1953 / Highest
Palmerston North / 20.2 / 30th / 1918 / 2nd-highest
Wellington / 17.7 / 14th / 1962 / Equal 4th-highest
Wallaceville / 19.9 / 15th / 1939 / 2nd-highest
Stratford / 16.8 / 29th / 1960 / Equal 4th-highest
Hawera / 17.5 / 15th / 1977 / 2nd-highest
Ohakune / 17.4 / 15th / 1962 / 2nd-highest
Waiouru / 18.0 / 29th / 1962 / Highest
Wanganui / 20.2 / 15th / 1937 / 4th-highest
Takaka / 20.0 / 28th / 1978 / Highest
Lake Rotoiti / 16.1 / 17th / 1965 / 4th-highest
Milford Sound / 17.7 / 16th / 1934 / 4th-highest
Motueka / 19.5 / 28th / 1956 / Equal 3rd-highest
Appleby / 19.8 / 28th / 1943 / Highest
Arthurs Pass / 13.0 / 16th / 1978 / Equal 4th-highest
Culverden / 22.0 / 25th / 1928 / 4th-highest
Tiwai Point (Southland) / 17.4 / 25th / 1970 / Equal 3rd-highest
September / / / /
Kaitaia / 21.5 / 13th / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Kaikohe / 20.7 / 14th / 1973 / 4th-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 20.4 / 14th / 1978 / 3rd-highest
Ngawi / 23.4 / 14th / 1972 / 3rd-highest
Farewell Spit / 20.9 / 15th / 1971 / Highest
Lake Rotoiti / 21.6 / 14th / 1965 / Equal 2nd-highest
Appleby (Nelson) / 21.8 / 15th / 1943 / 3rd-highest
Blenheim / 24.4 / 14th / 1932 / 2nd-highest
Hanmer Forest / 26.1 / 14th / 1906 / 4th-highest
Culverden / 24.0 / 11th / 1928 / Equal 4th-highest
Le Bons Bay / 22.4 / 14th / 1984 / 2nd-highest
Orari (South Canterbury) / 27.5 / 14th / 1972 / Highest
Timaru / 28.2 / 14th / 1885 / Highest
Oamaru / 26.4 / 14th / 1908 / 2nd-highest
Dunedin (Musselburgh) / 25.4 / 14th / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Manapouri / 19.7 / 14th / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Alexandra / 29.0 / 14th / 1928 / Highest
Queenstown / 23.3 / 14th / 1871 / 4th-highest
Lumsden / 21.0 / 14th / 1982 / Equal 3rd-highest
Cromwell / 26.0 / 14th / 1949 / Highest
October / / / /
Whangarei / 24.3 / 17th / 1967 / 4th-highest
November / / / /
Kerikeri / 26.4 / 30th / 1981 / 2nd-highest
Kaikohe / 24.9 / 27th / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Whangarei / 25.9 / 30th / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Tauranga / 28.6 / 24th / 1913 / Highest
Te Puke / 28.8 / 24th / 1973 / Highest
Whakatane / 32.1 / 24th / 1975 / Highest
Rotorua / 27.3 / 24th / 1964 / Highest
Turangi / 26.8 / 24th / 1968 / 2nd-highest
Hastings / 30.2 / 29th / 1965 / 4th-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 29.8 / 29th / 1964 / 4th-highest
Farewell Spit / 24.4 / 24th / 1971 / 3rd-highest
Le Bons Bay / 25.4 / 21st / 1984 / 4th-highest
Oamaru / 29.0 / 21st / 1967 / Highest
Dunedin (Airport) / 31.1 / 23rd / 1947 / Highest
Queenstown / 26.0 / 23rd / 1968 / Equal 4th-highest
Balclutha / 27.6 / 23rd / 1964 / 4th-highest
Nugget Point / 27.9 / 23rd / 1970 / Highest
December / / / /
Kerikeri / 29.2 / 11th / 1981 / 2nd-highest
Kaikohe / 27.8 / 26th / 1973 / Highest
Whangaparaoa / 26.5 / 26th / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Whitianga / 27.9 / 10th / 1962 / 4th-highest
Whakatane / 29.3 / 19th / 1975 / Equal 2nd-highest
Taupo / 27.0 / 10th / 1976 / 2nd-highest
Le Bons Bay / 27.8 / 26th / 1984 / 3rd-highest
Dunedin / 32.0 / 25th / 1962 / 2nd-highest
Nugget Point / 27.0 / 25th / 1970 / 3rd-highest

Table 8: Near or record high monthly maximum temperatures were recorded at:

Location / Maximum temperature (°C) / Departure from normal (°C) / Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Whangaparaoa / 24.2 / 1.9 / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Tauranga Aero / 25.5 / 1.6 / 1913 / 4th-highest
Rotorua Aero / 24.1 / 1.2 / 1964 / 4th-highest
Waipawa / 25.9 / 1.6 / 1945 / 4th-highest
Takaka / 24.5 / 2.1 / 1978 / 3rd-highest
Lake Rotoiti / 23.5 / 2.8 / 1965 / 4th-highest
Hanmer Forest / 26.4 / 3.5 / 1906 / 2nd-highest
Kaikoura / 22.1 / 1.7 / 1963 / 3rd-highest
Culverden / 27.6 / 3.8 / 1928 / 2nd-highest
Cheviot / 25.6 / 2.5 / 1982 / Highest
Winchmore / 24.9 / 2.7 / 1928 / 4th-highest
Waipara West / 25.9 / 2.0 / 1973 / 3rd-highest
Darfield / 25.9 / 2.8 / 1939 / 3rd-highest
Christchurch / 24.7 / 2.4 / 1863 / 3rd-highest
Le Bons Bay / 21.3 / 2.2 / 1984 / Highest
Fairlie / 25.7 / 3.3 / 1925 / 2nd-highest
Woodbury / 25.9 / 3.6 / 1973 / Highest
Dunedin Aero / 23.1 / 2.4 / 1947 / Highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh / 21.1 / 2.2 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Nugget Point / 19.5 / 1.8 / 1970 / 4th-highest
February / / / /
Kaitaia / 25.6 / 0.7 / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Whangarei Aero / 25.6 / 1.2 / 1967 / 4th-highest
Whangaparaoa / 24.4 / 1.9 / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 24.5 / 0.4 / 1978 / 2nd-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 25.9 / 1.8 / 1964 / 3rd-highest
April / / / /
Appleby / 19.5 / 1.3 / 1943 / Highest
Dunedin / 17.9 / 1.3 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Cromwell / 19.0 / 1.7 / 1949 / 4th-highest
Invercargill / 16.5 / 1.5 / 1948 / 4th-highest
Tiwai Point / 15.6 / 1.0 / 1970 / 4th-highest
Nugget Point / 15.8 / 1.8 / 1970 / 2nd-highest
August / / / /
Kaitaia / 16.7 / 0.5 / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Whangarei / 17.0 / 1.4 / 1967 / Highest
Whangaparaoa / 16.2 / 2.2 / 1982 / Highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 16.2 / 1.1 / 1978 / 2nd-highest
Whenuapai (West Auckland) / 16.3 / 1.2 / 1945 / 2nd-highest
Tauranga / 16.2 / 1.4 / 1913 / 2nd-highest
Port Taharoa / 16.0 / 1.4 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Turangi / 13.2 / 1.3 / 1968 / 4th-highest
New Plymouth / 15.2 / 1.5 / 1944 / Highest
East Taratahi (Masterton) / 15.0 / 1.9 / 1906 / 3rd-highest
Martinborough / 15.9 / 2.3 / 1986 / 2nd-highest
Ngawi (Wairarapa coast) / 15.2 / 2.3 / 1972 / 2nd-highest
Gisborne / 16.3 / 1.4 / 1905 / 4th-highest
Paraparaumu / 14.7 / 1.7 / 1953 / Highest
Palmerston North / 15.4 / 2.1 / 1928 / Highest
Levin / 15.3 / 2.0 / 1895 / Highest
Wellington / 14.7 / 2.0 / 1962 / Highest
Wallaceville / 15.5 / 2.6 / 1939 / Highest
Stratford / 13.4 / 1.5 / 1960 / 2nd-highest
Hawera / 14.2 / 1.6 / 1977 / Highest
Ohakune / 12.0 / 1.9 / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Waiouru / 10.4 / 1.6 / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Wanganui / 16.0 / 2.2 / 1937 / Highest
Takaka / 15.0 / 1.4 / 1978 / 3rd-highest
Westport / 14.3 / 1.3 / 1937 / 2nd-highest
Lake Rotoiti / 11.3 / 1.8 / 1965 / 2nd-highest
Reefton / 13.8 / 1.8 / 1960 / Highest
Greymouth / 13.9 / 1.3 / 1947 / 4th-highest
Puysegur Point (Fiordland) / 12.6 / 1.9 / 1978 / Highest
Nelson / 14.3 / 1.2 / 1943 / Highest
Appleby / 15.4 / 2.3 / 1943 / Highest
Blenheim / 16.0 / 2.2 / 1941 / Highest
Hanmer Forest / 15.5 / 4.0 / 1906 / 2nd-highest
Kaikoura / 13.8 / 2.3 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Winchmore / 14.4 / 2.8 / 1928 / 2nd-highest
Waipara West / 15.5 / 3.0 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Christchurch / 14.2 / 2.1 / 1863 / 4th-highest
Le Bons Bay (Banks Peninsula) / 12.4 / 2.4 / 1984 / 2nd-highest
Timaru / 13.2 / 1.6 / 1885 / 4th-highest
Oamaru / 13.8 / 1.8 / 1908 / 2nd-highest
Tara Hills / 11.5 / 2.1 / 1949 / 3rd-highest
Wanaka / 12.0 / 1.6 / 1955 / 3rd-highest
Dunedin / 13.8 / 1.8 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Manapouri / 11.2 / 1.1 / 1963 / 3rd-highest
Lumsden / 12.3 / 1.9 / 1982 / Highest
Cromwell / 14.0 / 3.0 / 1949 / Highest
Gore / 12.0 / 1.9 / 1971 / 2nd-highest
Invercargill / 12.5 / 1.4 / 1948 / 2nd-highest
Nugget Point (coastal Otago) / 11.7 / 1.9 / 1970 / 2nd-highest
September / / / /
Whangaparaoa / 16.8 / 1.5 / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 17.2 / 0.9 / 1978 / 2nd-highest
Whenuapai / 17.5 / 1.2 / 1945 / 2nd-highest
Lake Rotoiti / 14.2 / 2.4 / 1965 / 2nd-highest
November / / / /
Kerikeri / 22.1 / 1.4 / 1981 / Highest
Te Puke / 21.0 / 1.3 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Whakatane / 21.2 / 0.5 / 1974 / 3rd-highest
Nelson / 20.0 / 1.4 / 1943 / 3rd-highest
Dunedin (Airport) / 19.0 / 1.5 / 1947 / Highest
December / / / /
Kerikeri / 24.6 / 2.0 / 1981 / Highest
Kaikohe / 24.0 / 2.9 / 1973 / Highest
Whangarei / 24.3 / 1.6 / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Whangaparaoa / 22.4 / 1.8 / 1982 / 2nd-highest
Whakatane / 22.6 / 0.8 / 1974 / 3rd-highest

Section 9: Low temperatures and severe frost

2009 was notable for four extremely cold months (March, May, June and October), and an extended frosty period across many regions of the country between 16 and 26 June. Many record low monthly minimum temperatures were established in these four months, as well as widespread and record low daily minimum temperatures on the following dates: 12 and 23-25 March, 21-22 April, May 21-22, 8 and 17-19 June, 4-6 September, and 4-6 October.

• March
The national average temperature of 15.1°C for March 2009 was 0.6°C below average for this time of the year. Monthly temperatures were below average (by between 0.5 and 1.5°C) for all of the North Island except for Northland, Bay of Plenty and East Cape and over all of the South Island except for north Canterbury, Otago and Southland (where temperatures were near or slightly below normal). Temperatures in parts of Southern Hawkes Bay were well below normal (by between 1.5 and 2.0°C).

• April
Monthly temperatures were below average (by between 0.5 and 1.0 °C) over most of the central and eastern parts of the North Island for April. Notably, several sites in Otago, Canterbury, and the lower North Island recorded their lowest April minimum temperature on the 21st or 22nd.

• May
It was a record cold May for many, many locations, the length and breadth of the country. Extremely low temperatures (between 2.0 and 2.5 °C lower than normal) were recorded over most of the South Island, lower parts of the North Island, King Country, Waikato, Auckland and parts of Northland. Most other locations experienced well below average temperatures (between 1.2 and 2.0 °C lower than normal). The national average temperature of 9.0°C was 1.6°C below the long-term average for May.

• June
Monthly minimum temperatures in June were well below average in many locations of New Zealand. The persistence of the wintertime “highs” resulted in an extended frosty period between the 16th and 26th – and this is reflected in the minimum temperatures. Several sites recorded their lowest-ever June extreme daily minimum air temperature; Warkworth, Whanagaparaoa, Part Taharoa (coastal Waikato), Turangi, Paraparaumu, Wellington, Wanganui and Banks Peninsula. The Wellington and Paraparaumu records were notable, in that the minimum air temperature recorded on the 8th (-0.6 ºC and -4.2 ºC respectively) broke long-standing records, going back to 1962 (Wellington) and 1953 (Paraparaumu).

• 4-6 September
Numerous September minimum temperature records were broken on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of the month, right across the country from Southland to Northland. Record cold temperatures were experienced on the 5th and 6th, when a large anticyclone became slow moving over the country. The clear skies and light winds of this early-spring anticyclone resulted in extremely frosty conditions, which were widespread.

• 4-6 October
Record cold or near-record cold afternoon conditions were experienced on October 4th/5th in many North Island locations, associated with the heavy snowfall and bitterly cold southeast winds over the central North Island.

Table 9: Extremes of daily minimum temperature in 2009 were recorded at:

Location / Minimum temperature (°C) / Date of occurrence / Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Warkworth / 7.4 / 5th / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Te Puke / 4.4 / 21st / 1973 / Equal 3rd-lowest
February / / / /
Warkworth / 9.2 / 25th / 1966 / 3rd-lowest
Dunedin Aero / 1.9 / 11th / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
Queenstown Aero / 1.7 / 14th / 1871 / 3rd-lowest
March / / / /
Warkworth / 6.1 / 24th / 1966 / Lowest
Port Taharoa / 7.9 / 12th / 1973 / Equal 4th-lowest
Taumarunui / -1.0 / 25th / 1947 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Turangi / -1.4 / 25th / 1968 / 2nd-lowest
Takapau Plains / 0.0 / 12th / 1962 / 3rd-lowest
Dannevirke / -0.4 / 12th / 1951 / Equal 2nd-lowest
Castlepoint / 6.6 / 23rd / 1972 / 3rd-lowest
Martinborough / 2.1 / 25th / 1986 / 4th-lowest
Ngawi / 6.5 / 12th / 1972 / 3rd-lowest
Hicks Bay / 8.0 / 12th / 1969 / 4th-lowest
Wairoa / 3.9 / 12th / 1964 / 2nd-lowest
Pelorus Sound / 6.0 / 12th / 1982 / Equal 4th-lowest
Hanmer Forest / -2.6 / 24th / 1906 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Cheviot / -0.5 / 24th / 1982 / 3rd-lowest
Queenstown / -1.3 / 22nd / 1871 / Lowest
Tiwai Point / 2.8 / 23rd / 1970 / 4th-lowest
April / / / /
Warkworth / 3.5 / 10th / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 0.8 / 10th / 1978 / Lowest
Pukekohe / 2.1 / 10th / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Hamilton / -0.4 / 10th / 1946 / 4th-lowest
Taumarunui / -2.6 / 2nd / 1947 / Equal lowest
Turangi / -3.1 / 2nd / 1968 / Equal lowest
Martinborough / -1.8 / 22nd / 1986 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 5.9 / 22nd / 1972 / Equal 4th-lowest
Paraparaumu / 0.2 / 22nd / 1953 / 3rd-lowest
Ohakune / -2.7 / 22nd / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui / 2.2 / 22nd / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Appleby / -0.8 / 21st / 1943 / 4th-lowest
Cheviot / -2.6 / 22nd / 1982 / 3rd-lowest
Christchurch / -2.2 / 22nd / 1863 / Equal 4th-lowest
Lake Tekapo / -5.0 / 9th / 1925 / 4th-lowest
Dunedin / -4.0 / 21st / 1947 / Lowest
Gore / -2.6 / 21st / 1971 / 2nd-lowest
Balclutha / -3.6 / 21st / 1964 / Lowest
May / / / /
Kaitaia Observatory / 4.7 / 24th / 1985 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Kerikeri Ews / 3.0 / 22nd / 1981 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Warkworth Ews / 0.1 / 22nd / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa Aws / 5.4 / 21st / 1982 / Lowest
Te Puke Ews / -1.0 / 22nd / 1973 / Equal 2nd-lowest
Whakatane Aero Aws / -1.6 / 22nd / 1975 / 2nd-lowest
Rotorua Aero Aws / -2.9 / 22nd / 1964 / Lowest
Taupo Aws / -4.1 / 22nd / 1949 / 3rd-lowest
Pukekohe Ews / -0.5 / 22nd / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Port Taharoa Aws / 2.0 / 21st / 1973 / Lowest
Te Kuiti Ews / -2.5 / 22nd / 1959 / 3rd-lowest
Taumarunui Aws / -4.0 / 22nd / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
New Plymouth Aws / -0.8 / 22nd / 1944 / Lowest
Ngawi Aws / 4.6 / 28th / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Hicks Bay Aws / 1.7 / 22nd / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Hastings Aws / -2.4 / 22nd / 1965 / 2nd-lowest
Waipawa Ews / -4.2 / 22nd / 1945 / 2nd-lowest
Wairoa, North Clyde Ews / -0.2 / 22nd / 1964 / 4th-lowest
Stratford Ews / -1.8 / 22nd / 1960 / Equal 2nd-lowest
Waiouru Aws / -6.1 / 22nd / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui Aws / 1.3 / 28th / 1987 / Equal 4th-lowest
Hokitika Aero / -1.8 / 12th / 1963 / 2nd-lowest
Pelorus Sd, Crail Bay / 2.0 / 21st / 1982 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim Aero Aws / -4.7 / 21st / 1932 / Lowest
Le Bons Bay Aws / 0.8 / 21st / 1984 / 3rd-lowest
Dunedin Aero Aws / -4.9 / 3rd / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
Balclutha, Telford Ews / -4.5 / 2nd / 1964 / Equal 3rd-lowest
June / / / /
Kaitaia / 2.0 / 19th / 1985 / 4th-lowest
Warkworth / -1.3 / 5th / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa / 4.1 / 1st / 1982 / Lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / -3.2 / 4th / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Te Puke / -1.6 / 17th / 1973 / 4th-lowest
Rotorua / -4.0 / 19th / 1964 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Taupo / -5.4 / 18th / 1949 / 4th-lowest
Hamilton / -4.5 / 19th / 1946 / 2nd-lowest
Port Taharoa / 0.5 / 17th / 1973 / Lowest
Te Kuiti / -3.9 / 19th / 1959 / 2nd-lowest
Taumarunui / -5.8 / 23rd / 1947 / 2nd-lowest
Turangi / -7.4 / 5th / 1968 / Lowest
Castlepoint / 2.0 / 17th / 1972 / Equal 4th-lowest
Paraparaumu / -4.2 / 8th / 1953 / Lowest
Wellington / -0.6 / 8th / 1962 / Lowest
Hawera / -3.3 / 8th / 1977 / Equal 2nd-lowest
Wanganui / -1.5 / 8th / 1987 / Lowest
Lake Rotoiti / -8.2 / 19th / 1965 / Equal 4th-lowest
Milford Sound / -3.4 / 23rd / 1934 / Equal 4th-lowest
Puysegur Point (Fiordland) / 0.6 / 7th / 1978 / 2nd-lowest
Motueka, Riwaka / -4.8 / 19th / 1956 / 2nd-lowest
Pelorus Sd, Crail Bay / -1.0 / 17th / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
Appleby / -5.5 / 19th / 1943 / 4th-lowest
Blenheim / -5.5 / 17th / 1932 / 3rd-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 0.0 / 17th / 1984 / Lowest
Manapouri / -5.9 / 7th / 1963 / 4th-lowest
July / / / /
Kaitaia / 1.5 / 26th / 1985 / Equal lowest
Warkworth / -0.5 / 26th / 1966 / Lowest
Te Kuiti / -3.6 / 14th / 1959 / Equal 2nd-lowest
New Plymouth / -1.8 / 14th / 1944 / 2nd-lowest
Takapau Plains / -3.6 / 27th / 1962 / Equal 4th-lowest
Dannevirke / -4.6 / 27th / 1951 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 2.9 / 14th / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Hawera / -2.8 / 14th / 1977 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 0.9 / 13th / 1984 / 4th-lowest
September / / / /
Kaitaia / 2.2 / 7th / 1967 / 4th-lowest
Warkworth / 1.2 / 6th / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa / 5.4 / 5th / 1982 / Lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / -1.5 / 6th / 1978 / Lowest
Whitianga / -1.3 / 6th / 1962 / Lowest
Ruakura / -2.8 / 6th / 1906 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Hamilton / -2.2 / 6th / 1946 / Equal lowest
Port Taharoa / 1.5 / 6th / 1973 / Lowest
Te Kuiti / -2.3 / 5th / 1959 / Lowest
Taumarunui / -4.2 / 5th / 1947 / 2nd-lowest
Turangi / -5.0 / 5th / 1968 / 2nd-lowest
Dannevirke / -3.4 / 5th / 1951 / 3rd-lowest
Martinborough / -2.9 / 5th / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Ngawi / 2.7 / 5th / 1972 / Lowest
Paraparaumu / -2.8 / 5th / 1953 / 2nd-lowest
Levin / -2.3 / 5th / 1895 / 3rd-lowest
Wallaceville / -4.0 / 6th / 1939 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Stratford / -1.6 / 7th / 1960 / 4th-lowest
Hawera / -2.7 / 5th / 1977 / Lowest
Wanganui / 0.1 / 5th / 1987 / Equal lowest
Takaka / -0.9 / 6th / 1978 / 4th-lowest
Motueka / -2.2 / 5th / 1956 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / -3.5 / 5th / 1932 / Lowest
Culverden / -6.0 / 5th / 1928 / 4th-lowest
Christchurch (Airport) / -3.9 / 4th / 1863 / 2nd-lowest
Oamaru / -4.0 / 5th / 1908 / 3rd-lowest
Dunedin (Airport) / -4.7 / 5th / 1947 / Lowest
Queenstown / -3.8 / 4th / 1871 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Lumsden / -4.8 / 4th / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
Gore / -3.4 / 4th / 1971 / Equal 4th-lowest
October / / / /
Warkworth / 2.4 / 30th / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa / 5.9 / 5th / 1982 / Lowest
Pukekohe / 1.6 / 30th / 1969 / 4th-lowest
Dannevirke / -2.3 / 21st / 1951 / 4th-lowest
Hokitika / -0.9 / 5th / 1866 / 4th-lowest
Haast / -0.4 / 29th / 1949 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Puysegur Point / 3.0 / 4th / 1978 / 4th-lowest
Appleby (Nelson) / -0.7 / 6th / 1943 / 4th-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 1.7 / 10th / 1984 / Equal lowest
Dunedin (Airport) / -3.3 / 7th / 1947 / Lowest
Queenstown / -3.5 / 5th / 1871 / Lowest
Lumsden / -4.3 / 5th / 1982 / Lowest
November / / / /
Warkworth / 4.4 / 7th / 1966 / Lowest
Turangi / -1.7 / 12th / 1968 / 3rd-lowest
New Plymouth / 2.1 / 12th / 1944 / 3rd-lowest
Martinborough / 0.0 / 12th / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Hawera / 0.7 / 12th / 1977 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Christchurch / -0.7 / 17th / 1863 / Equal 4th-lowest
Dunedin (Airport) / -0.4 / 16th / 1947 / Lowest
Balclutha / 0.0 / 10th / 1964 / Equal 3rd-lowest
December / / / /
Kerikeri / 8.0 / 16th / 1978 / Equal 4th-lowest
Warkworth / 5.2 / 16th / 1966 / Lowest
Martinborough / 1.4 / 22nd / 1986 / Lowest
Napier / 4.0 / 22nd / 1973 / 3rd-lowest
Waipawa / 1.1 / 22nd / 1945 / Equal 4th-lowest
Winchmore / 0.9 / 4th / 1928 / 4th-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 4.4 / 15th / 1984 / 4th-lowest
Woodbury / 0.0 / 2nd / 1973 / Equal 3rd-lowest
Timaru / 1.0 / 31st / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Oamaru / 2.0 / 15th / 1967 / 4th-lowest
Dunedin / -0.7 / 4th / 1947 / Lowest
Lumsden / -3.5 / 3rd / 1982 / Lowest

Table 10: Near or record low monthly minimum temperatures were recorded at:

Location / Minimum temperature (°C) / Departure from normal (°C) / Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Warkworth / 13.2 / -1.9 / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Dannevirke / 10.6 / -1.6 / 1951 / 4th-lowest
Martinborough / 11.0 / -1.2 / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Appleby / 10.6 / -2.5 / 1943 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim Aero / 9.9 / -2.0 / 1932 / 4th-lowest
February / / / /
Puysegur Point / 10.1 / -1.3 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Dunedin Aero / 8.5 / -0.4 / 1947 / 4th-lowest
Tiwai Point / 9.3 / -1.6 / 1970 / 2nd-lowest
Balclutha / 8.3 / -1.3 / 1964 / 4th-lowest
March / / / /
Kaitaia / 12.7 / -2.0 / 1967 / 3rd-lowest
Warkworth / 12.3 / -2.4 / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 11.6 / -1.2 / 1978 / 4th-lowest
Taumarunui / 7.9 / -2.3 / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
Turangi / 7.3 / -2.5 / 1968 / 2nd-lowest
Takapau Plains / 8.4 / -1.9 / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Dannevirke / 8.4 / -2.3 / 1951 / 2nd-lowest
Martinborough / 8.3 / -2.4 / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Hastings / 9.9 / -2.0 / 1965 / 3rd-lowest
Waipawa / 7.8 / -2.6 / 1945 / 3rd-lowest
Wairoa / 10.4 / -1.9 / 1964 / 3rd-lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 5.5 / -1.5 / 1965 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim Aero / 8.0 / -2.2 / 1932 / 2nd-lowest
Hanmer Forest / 4.8 / -2.3 / 1906 / 2nd-lowest
Culverden / 5.9 / -3.2 / 1928 / 2nd-lowest
Cheviot / 6.5 / -2.0 / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
April / / / /
Takapau Plains / 6.0 / -2.2 / 1962 / 2nd-lowest
Dannevirke / 5.8 / -2.6 / 1951 / 2nd-lowest
Ohakune / 4.3 / -1.5 / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui / 9.4 / -1.3 / 1987 / 4th-lowest
Cheviot / 4.3 / -1.2 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
May / / / /
Kaitaia / 8.1 / -2.9 / 1967 / 2nd-lowest
Kerikeri / 7.7 / -1.8 / 1981 / Lowest
Warkworth / 7.2 / -3.5 / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa / 9.8 / -2.0 / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
Tiri Tiri Lighthouse / 11.0 / -0.8 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 6.2 / -2.0 / 1978 / 2nd-lowest
Pukekohe / 6.7 / -2.5 / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Port Taharoa / 8.1 / -2.4 / 1973 / Lowest
Te Kuiti / 4.2 / -2.1 / 1959 / 4th-lowest
Taumarunui / 2.5 / -2.4 / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
Turangi / 2.7 / -1.6 / 1968 / 4th-lowest
Castlepoint / 8.1 / -1.9 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Martinborough / 4.5 / -0.9 / 1986 / 4th-lowest
Ngawi / 8.6 / -1.5 / 1972 / Lowest
Hicks Bay / 9.2 / -1.5 / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Stratford / 4.8 / -1.5 / 1960 / 4th-lowest
Hawera / 5.8 / -1.4 / 1977 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui / 7.2 / -1.5 / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Takaka / 2.9 / -2.8 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Westport / 4.9 / -2.6 / 1937 / 2nd-lowest
Hokitika / 3.8 / -2.1 / 1963 / 2nd-lowest
Greymouth / 4.7 / -2.4 / 1947 / 2nd-lowest
Motueka / 1.5 / -2.7 / 1956 / Lowest
Pelorus Sd, Crail Bay / 7.5 / -1.1 / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
Appleby / 1.7 / -3.9 / 1943 / Lowest
Blenheim / 1.6 / -2.8 / 1932 / Lowest
Kaikoura / 6.3 / -1.5 / 1963 / 4th-lowest
Arthurs Pass / -1.0 / -3.4 / 1973 / 2nd-lowest
Cheviot / 1.7 / -1.2 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Le Bons Bay / 5.4 / -2.0 / 1984 / 2nd-lowest
Dunedin / 1.5 / -0.7 / 1947 / 2nd-lowest
Lumsden / 0.9 / -1.6 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Tiwai Point / 3.8 / -2.0 / 1970 / 2nd-lowest
Balclutha / 1.9 / -1.9 / 1964 / 2nd-lowest
June / / / /
Kaitaia / 6.9 / -2.3 / 1967 / 2nd-lowest
Whangaparaoa / 8.7 / -1.1 / 1982 / 3rd-lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 4.6 / -1.9 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Taupo / 0.7 / -2.1 / 1949 / 3rd-lowest
Ruakura / 1.4 / -3.3 / 1906 / 3rd-lowest
Hamilton / 1.4 / -2.7 / 1946 / 2nd-lowest
Port Taharoa / 6.3 / -2.4 / 1973 / Lowest
Te Kuiti / 1.5 / -3.1 / 1959 / 2nd-lowest
Taumarunui / 0.0 / -3.3 / 1947 / Lowest
Dannevirke / 2.0 / -2.4 / 1951 / 3rd-lowest
Castlepoint / 6.6 / -1.6 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 7.1 / -1.1 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Hicks Bay / 7.3 / -1.4 / 1969 / 3rd-lowest
Levin / 2.3 / -2.9 / 1895 / 4th-lowest
Wanganui / 5.1 / -1.6 / 1987 / 2nd-lowest
Milford Sound / 0.2 / -1.7 / 1934 / 4th-lowest
Pelorus Sd, Crail Bay / 4.9 / -1.5 / 1982 / Lowest
Hanmer Forest / -3.5 / -2.7 / 1906 / 2nd-lowest
Arthurs Pass / -2.3 / -2.4 / 1973 / 4th-lowest
Cheviot / -0.1 / -0.8 / 1982 / 3rd-lowest
Le Bons Bay (Banks Peninsula) / 4.8 / -0.8 / 1984 / 4th-lowest
Queenstown / -2.1 / -1.2 / 1871 / 2nd-lowest
July / / / /
Warkworth / 5.9 / -2.0 / 1966 / Lowest
Ngawi / 6.7 / -0.9 / 1972 / Equal 4th-lowest
Le Bons Bay (Banks Peninsula) / 4.1 / -0.8 / 1984 / 3rd-lowest
Dunedin / -0.6 / -0.4 / 1947 / Lowest
September / / / /
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 7.1 / -1.1 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Dannevirke / 4.0 / -2.1 / 1951 / 2nd-lowest
Martinborough / 4.7 / -1.2 / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Wanganui / 7.0 / -1 / 1987 / 4th-lowest
Blenheim / 3.4 / -1.4 / 1932 / 4th-lowest
Hanmer Forest / -0.3 / -2.1 / 1906 / 2nd-lowest
Dunedin (Airport) / 2.7 / -0.3 / 1947 / Lowest
October / / / /
Kaitaia / 8.7 / -1.9 / 1967 / 2nd-lowest
Warkworth / 8.5 / -2.1 / 1966 / Lowest
Whangaparaoa / 10.1 / -1.3 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Port Taharoa / 9.4 / -1.6 / 1973 / 2nd-lowest
Dannevirke / 5.3 / -2.5 / 1951 / 2nd-lowest
Castlepoint / 8.0 / -2.2 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Ngawi / 8.5 / -1.6 / 1972 / 2nd-lowest
Wellington / 8.5 / -1.4 / 1962 / 3rd-lowest
Wanganui / 8.4 / -1.2 / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Westport / 6.3 / -2.1 / 1937 / 3rd-lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 1.6 / -2.0 / 1965 / 3rd-lowest
Hokitika / 5.4 / -2.0 / 1963 / 2nd-lowest
Reefton / 3.6 / -2.6 / 1960 / Lowest
Greymouth / 6.6 / -1.7 / 1947 / 3rd-lowest
Haast / 5.1 / -1.4 / 1949 / 4th-lowest
Puysegur Point / 6.7 / -1.0 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / 4.7 / -2.1 / 1932 / 2nd-lowest
Hanmer Forest / 1.3 / -2.8 / 1906 / 3rd-lowest
Kaikoura / 6.3 / -1.9 / 1963 / Lowest
Arthurs Pass / 0.8 / -3.4 / 1973 / Lowest
Waipara West / 4.4 / -2.1 / 1973 / Lowest
Le Bons Bay / 5.0 / -2.0 / 1984 / 2nd-lowest
Lake Tekapo / 1.1 / -2.4 / 1927 / 3rd-lowest
Tara Hills / 1.5 / -2.2 / 1949 / 3rd-lowest
Wanaka / 3.5 / -1.8 / 1955 / 4th-lowest
Dunedin / 4.1 / -0.8 / 1947 / Lowest
Queenstown / 2.8 / -1.6 / 1871 / Lowest
Nugget Point / 5.5 / -0.9 / 1970 / 4th-lowest
December / / / /
Kaitaia / 11.5 / -2.1 / 1967 / 3rd-lowest
Warkworth / 12.2 / -1.4 / 1966 / 4th-lowest
Pukekohe / 11.2 / -1.5 / 1969 / 4th-lowest
Te Kuiti / 9.9 / -1.5 / 1959 / 4th-lowest
Turangi / 8.7 / -1.6 / 1968 / 4th-lowest
Timaru / 7.5 / -2.2 / 1962 / 4th-lowest
Dunedin / 7.6 / -0.8 / 1947 / 2nd-lowest


Section 10: Floods and high rainfall

There were numerous heavy rainfall events during 2009, about fifteen of which produced significant flood and property damage. Most of the rainfall events that produced flooding are listed below. The worst flooding events during 2009 were those of 27 April on the West Coast, 16-20 May in Canterbury, Otago, and alpine areas of the South Island, and 28-30 June in Gisborne and the Manawatu-Wanganui region (causing a State of Emergency to be declared in Gisborne).

• 2 January
Heavy rain fell in Queenstown and on the West Coast overnight on 2 January. River levels in the Haast and Callery (near Franz Joseph) Rivers rose quickly as a result. The Te Anau Rodeo Club annual event was cancelled after persistent rain turned the arena into a quagmire.

• 18 January
Flash floods struck Christchurch on the evening of 18 January. The same storm brought torrential rain and hail to Ashburton in half an hour, turning streets into rivers, and ruining vegetable gardens.

• 10 February
Torrential rain in Manawatu and Wanganui on the afternoon of 10 February caused flooding up to 1 m deep. From 11am to 4pm, 72.4 mm was recorded in Palmerston North, and from 9am and 4 pm, 74.4 mm was recorded in Wanganui.

• 19 February
A heavy, isolated, rainstorm about 1am on the 19th caused flash flooding in Ohope.

• 20-21 February
Severe rain on 20 February caused surface flooding in parts of Wellington, Levin, and Palmerston North, and caused raw sewage to overflow into central Wellington, the harbour, and Lyall Bay. In Tauranga, the severe rain caused the postponement of the Kapa Haka festival, the first time this had happened in 36 years. In South Canterbury and north Otago, surface flooding affected SH1 and SH8, and closed some minor roads. Dunedin’s fundraising “Relay for life” on 21 February was cancelled at midnight because of heavy rain.

• 27-28 February
Severe rain on the 27th caused surface flooding, traffic accidents in several North Island regions, and sewage overflows in Wellington City and the harbour. Stormy weather on the 28th forced the cancellation of the Mission Estate Concert in Hawke's Bay when excessive water and mud made the venue dangerous, and the Derby Day race at Ellerslie was postponed for the first time in its history.

• 5-6 March
A storm crossed the upper North Island on 5–6 March, causing property damage, and bringing down power lines. About 13,000 homes in greater Auckland lost power for a short time, with 10 homes at Bethells Beach having no power overnight.

• 17 March
Heavy rain on 17 March caused surface flooding, landslips, and sewer overflows in Tauranga. The downpour put a stop to both the swim and run legs of Tauranga Triathlon's aquathon race.

• 27 April
Mt Cook recorded 341 mm of rainfall on the 27th (the highest April 1-day total for this location, since records began in 1928). Homes were evacuated and roads flooded as torrential rain fell in Greymouth on this day. Roads became impassable and at least nine homes were evacuated on the eastern side of town. Flooding also forced the closure of SH6 at Punakaiki, and between Haast and Makarora. Trampers were stranded in the Mueller Hut in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, and about 120 people were evacuated from the Milford Track by helicopter. A massive slip blocked Oropi Gorge Road in the Bay of Plenty on the same day after a weekend of heavy rain in the region.

• 14 May
On 14 May, rain in Southland closed SH99 between Riverton and Invercargill, and SH6 was reduced to one lane at Makarewa Bridge. Several other minor roads were also closed. Access to Toko Mouth in Southland was restored on 14 May after flooding closed the road for three days.


• 16 - 20 May
On 17 May, SH1 south of Ashburton, was closed for several hours after the Rangitata River burst its banks. The main railway line between Rangitata River and Temuka was also closed by flooding, delaying three freight trains. Inland, Omarama had water up to 1 m deep in places, after a stopbank designed to cope with a 100-year flood was overtopped. About 30 people were evacuated from the camping ground, along with three residents living near the river. A major slip closed SH8, on the Omarama side of the Lindis Pass. On 18 May, farmers used boats to rescue 150 sheep, stranded by the flooded Clutha River at Barnego, near Balclutha. The Skippers Road in Queenstown was closed until further notice, after slips and washouts at various locations. The previous three days of rain had also damaged many roads in the Queenstown Lakes area, with access requiring four-wheel drive vehicles. On the morning of 20 May, a 12 m stretch of Whitewash Head Road above Scarborough in Christchurch gave way following heavy rainfall. Vehicle access was affected to 23 homes.

• 24 May
On 24 May, residents were evacuated from two houses after a slip in Sumner, Christchurch. In Otago, a slip on Portobello Rd disrupted traffic for about an hour and a-half. And further north, a slip on the Rimutaka Hill Road partly blocked both lanes, but was eventually cleared.

• 28-30 June
Heavy rain on 29 June caused slips and the closure of SH4 between Raetihi and Wanganui. SH57 between Palmerston North and Linton was flooded, and slips occurred in the Manawatu Gorge. On 30 June, the residents of the small settlement of Mangatuna just out of Gisborne were evacuated following heavy rainfall. Many slips affected the Napier-Taupo Road, and SH2 between Napier and Wairoa, although both remained open. A Civil Defence Emergency was established in the Gisborne District on the morning of the 30th. Further north, about 1 m of water closed Tram Valley Road in Swanson, west Auckland, isolating 30 homes overnight.

• 23-24 July
Heavy rain on 23 July caused a slip at Maymorn Tunnel, north of Upper Hutt. About 300 train passengers were stranded after the locomotive ploughed into the wall of mud and debris and was derailed. A tree came down causing a slip, and blocking SH1 at Pukerua Bay from about 5.30 pm the same day, causing extensive delays. One lane re-opened just before 8 pm, but there was still a backlog of traffic at 10 pm. Slips and flooding also closed SH58 between Pauatahanui and Haywards Hill, the Paekakariki Hill Road, and SH53 between Martinborough and Featherston. In Lower Hutt, Eastern Hutt Road was under about 1 m of water. Five houses were evacuated in Silverstream after a creek burst its banks. In Greymouth, Sawyers Creek flooded, and houses were inundated, with some residents evacuated to motels. The Midland railway line was closed after a washout of the track at Kokiri, near Greymouth. Tranz Alpine passengers had the option of travelling by bus between Christchurch and Greymouth, or travelling by train on another day. About 8 am on 24 July, a slip immediately north of the Ngauranga Gorge closed the North Island Main Trunk Line between Wellington and Porirua. Also on 24 July, heavy rain in Auckland triggered a fresh slip at Buckland’s Beach.

• 29 July
On 29 July, a slip, with some boulders reported as big as cars, fell on to SH6 near Greymouth. Traffic was diverted to a bridge further up the Grey River, until the road was partially re-opened in the afternoon.

• 30 August-1 September
On 31 August, Te Anga Rd, east of Waitomo Caves was closed by a large slip of mud and trees, while in the Wellington region, surface flooding closed roads in Lower Hutt, southern Wairarapa, and Plimmerton. A slip on the tracks at Pukerua Bay delayed trains until mid-morning, with buses brought in for commuters. A major slip in the Johnsonville suburb of Wellington in the early hours of 1 September left houses at the top of a bank, in a precarious position.

• 4-5 October
Heavy rain in Bay of Plenty on 5 October, caused slips in Tauranga, flooded businesses in Rotorua, and caused a 30 m high Acacia tree to fall, blocking the road at Pongakawa.


• 9 October
Heavy rain in the early hours of 9 October caused surface flooding in Wellington, and closed the Johnsonville railway line.

• 15-18 October
Heavy rain in Wellington on 15-16 October caused surface flooding on SH1 north of the city, as well as causing slips in Lower Hutt and Evans Bay Parade. SH1 was closed by flooding near Marton, south of Wanganui, on 18 October.


Table 11: Near record high extreme 1-day rainfall totals were recorded at:

Location / Extreme 1-day rainfall (mm) / Date of extreme rainfall / Year Records Began / Comments
February / / / /
Cape Reinga / 102 / 27th / 1919 / 3rd-highest
Kaitaia / 80 / 27th / 1985 / 4th-highest
Kerikeri / 132 / 27th / 1981 / 3rd-highest
Kaikohe / 158 / 27th / 1956 / 2nd-highest
Te Puke / 120 / 28th / 1973 / 4th-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 92 / 24th / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Palmerston North / 78 / 10th / 1928 / 4th-highest
Wanganui / 75 / 10th / 1937 / 3rd-highest
Hokitika Aero / 151 / 20th / 1963 / Highest
Hokitika / 147 / 20th / 1866 / 3rd-highest
Pelorus Sd, Crail Bay / 67 / 12th / 1982 / 4th-highest
Woodbury / 88 / 20th / 1973 / Highest
Timaru Harbour / 49 / 20th / 1942 / 3rd-highest
March / / / /
Te Puke / 147 / 6th / 1973 / 2nd-highest
April / / / /
Kaitaia / 115 / 25th / 1967 / Highest
Mt Cook / 341 / 27th / 1928 / Highest
Timaru / 47 / 29th / 1942 / 3rd-highest
May / / / /
Kerikeri / 102 / 26th / 1981 / 2nd-highest
Arthurs Pass / 214 / 16th / 1906 / 2nd-highest
Mt Cook / 321 / 16th / 1928 / Highest
Lake Tekapo / 88 / 16th / 1925 / Highest
Woodbury / 150 / 5th / 1973 / Highest
Tara Hills / 70 / 16th / 1949 / Highest
Manapouri / 37 / 14th / 1963 / 3rd-highest
June / / / /
Kaitaia / 84 / 11th / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 32 / 28th / 1978 / 4th-highest
Whakatane / 82 / 12th / 1952 / 4th-highest
Te Kuiti / 57 / 28th / 1957 / 4th-highest
Gisborne / 85 / 28th / 1937 / 3rd-highest
Wanganui / 36 / 28th / 1987 / 2nd-highest
Kaitaia / 84 / 11th / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 32 / 28th / 1978 / 4th-highest
Whakatane / 82 / 12th / 1952 / 4th-highest
Te Kuiti / 57 / 28th / 1957 / 4th-highest
Gisborne / 85 / 28th / 1937 / 3rd-highest
July / / / /
Wallaceville / 66 / 23rd / 1939 / 3rd-highest
Lumsden / 23 / 21st / 1982 / 4th-highest
Invercargill / 31 / 21st / 1939 / 4th-highest
Tiwai Point / 28 / 21st / 1970 / 4th-highest
August / / / /
Matamata (Waikato) / 78 / 14th / 1951 / 2nd-highest
Paraparaumu / 53 / 30th / 1951 / 4th-highest
Wallaceville / 101 / 30th / 1939 / 2nd-highest
Stratford / 81 / 30th / 1960 / 3rd-highest
Ohakune / 43 / 30th / 1961 / 4th-highest
Takaka / 82 / 25th / 1976 / 4th-highest
Arthurs Pass / 163 / 25th / 1906 / 3rd-highest
September / / / /
Whakatane / 76 / 24th / 1952 / 3rd-highest
Dannevirke / 64 / 24th / 1951 / Highest
Appleby (Nelson) / 59 / 29th / 1941 / 3rd-highest
October / / / /
Takapau Plains / 48 / 4th / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Dannevirke / 48 / 4th / 1951 / 4th-highest
Gisborne / 62 / 4th / 1937 / 3rd-highest
Wairoa, North Clyde / 70 / 4th / 1967 / 4th-highest
Blenheim / 50 / 8th / 1927 / 2nd-highest
Timaru Harbour / 56 / 19th / 1942 / Highest
December / / / /
Warkworth / 73 / 3rd / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Whangaparaoa / 70 / 4th / 1946 / 2nd-highest
Whitianga / 122 / 4th / 1961 / 4th-highest


Table 12: Near-record or record high monthly rainfalls were recorded at:

Locations that experienced near or record high monthly rainfall at various times during the year were:

Location / Rainfall (mm) / Percentage of normal for the month / Year Records began / Comments
February / / / /
Kaitaia / 177 / 230 / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Kerikeri / 241 / 259 / 1981 / 4th-highest
Te Puke / 304 / 301 / 1973 / 2nd-highest
Whatawhata (near Hamilton) / 215 / 261 / 1952 / 4th-highest
Martinborough / 144 / 289 / 1924 / 3rd-highest
Palmerston North / 213 / 379 / 1928 / 2nd-highest
Levin / 172 / 285 / 1895 / 3rd-highest
Wellington Aero / 161 / 312 / 1958 / 3rd-highest
Wanganui / 146 / 221 / 1987 / 2nd-highest
Blenheim Aero / 137 / 302 / 1927 / Highest
Winchmore / 139 / 263 / 1909 / 3rd-highest
Timaru / 166 / 371 / 1881 / 3rd-highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh / 165 / 267 / 1918 / 4th-highest
Cromwell / 64 / 200 / 1949 / 4th-highest
March / / / /
Te Puke / 325 / 209 / 1973 / 3rd-highest
April / / / /
Kaitaia / 253 / 253 / 1967 / 3rd-highest
Milford Sound / 1008 / 170 / 1929 / 4th-highest
Mt Cook / 1156 / 318 / 1928 / Highest
May / / / /
Dargaville / 219 / 209 / 1943 / 4th-highest
Warkworth / 205 / 177 / 1966 / 3rd-highest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 179 / 174 / 1978 / Highest
Martinborough / 177 / 241 / 1924 / 3rd-highest
Hawera / 162 / 175 / 1977 / 4th-highest
Mt Cook / 809 / 220 / 1928 / 3rd-highest
Lake Tekapo / 186 / 373 / 1925 / Highest
Tara Hills / 116 / 243 / 1949 / Highest
Ranfurly / 65 / 203 / 1943 / 4th-highest
Dunedin / 168 / 241 / 1918 / 4th-highest
Manapouri / 186 / 177 / 1961 / 3rd-highest
Lumsden / 100 / 108 / 1982 / 3rd-highest
Balclutha / 113 / 195 / 1964 / 3rd-highest
June / / / /
Whakatane / 269 / 213 / 1952 / 2nd-highest
Gisborne / 244 / 217 / 1905 / 2nd-highest
Dannevirke / 144 / 153 / 1951 / 4th-highest
August / / / /
Matamata / 219 / 191 / 1951 / Highest
Hokitika / 486 / 217 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Milford Sound / 852 / 199 / 1929 / 3rd-highest
Mt Cook / 673 / 227 / 1928 / 4th-highest
October / / / /
Dannevirke / 207 / 221 / 1951 / Highest
Gisborne / 152 / 266 / 1905 / 4th-highest
Waipawa / 133 / 215 / 1945 / 3rd-highest
Wellington / 161 / 171 / 1958 / 4th-highest
Ohakune / 254 / 191 / 1961 / 3rd-highest
Wanganui / 142 / 175 / 1987 / 3rd-highest
Blenheim / 139 / 204 / 1927 / 4th-highest


Section 11: Low soil moisture levels and record low monthly rainfall

• January
In January, well below normal rainfall occurred in Northland, Auckland, central North Island, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Tasman, Marlborough, north and south Canterbury and central Otago. Soil moisture levels at the end of January were below normal for much of the North Island (except Gisborne and northern Manawatu), as well as in the Tasman District, northern Westland, north and south Canterbury, and south Otago.

• February
Rainfall during February returned soil moisture levels to near normal status across much of the country.

• March - April
March was very dry, with exceptionally low rainfall in Marlborough, north Canterbury, Tekapo, north and central Otago where less than 10 mm was recorded at some locations. Rainfall was also well below normal (less than 50 percent of normal) in Waikato, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, southern Manawatu and Wellington. Rainfall was below normal elsewhere (between 50 and 80 percent of normal) except in western Bay of Plenty and eastern Otago (where it was very wet).

Exceptionally low rainfall for April (less than 20 percent of normal) occurred in southern Hawke’s Bay and Tararua District. This resulted in significant soil moisture deficits (more than 50 mm below normal levels) re-developing in these regions (although the dry soils were short-lived due to wet conditions in May). Other eastern areas of both islands, around Auckland, and along the south coast of the South Island received below normal rainfall (between 20 and 60 percent of normal) in April.

• November-December
Well below normal rainfall (below 50 percent of normal) was experienced in the northeast of the North Island, and the north and east of the South Island. At several locations in Northland and Central Otago, rainfall totals were in the single figures (less than 10 mm), and broke long-standing low-rainfall records for November. Record or near-record low rainfall was also observed in parts of Auckland and the Coromandel, and in the Bay of Plenty, Taupo, and Central Plateau regions. In the South Island, record low November rainfall was experienced in Canterbury, Otago, the Lakes District, and inland Southland.

After a windy and extremely dry November, significant soil moisture deficits (more than 50 mm below normal levels) had developed in Otago, Canterbury, the Kaikoura coast, Northland, and parts of Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, central North Island, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. However, rainfall in the first week of December returned soil moisture levels back to near normal in most regions, except Northland, central North Island, Bay of Plenty and Otago.

Table 13: Near-record or record low monthly rainfalls were recorded at:

Location / Rainfall (mm) / Percentage of normal / Year records began / Comments
January / / / /
Kaitaia Observatory / 20 / 24 / 1985 / 3rd-lowest
Warkworth / 16 / 18 / 1966 / 3rd-lowest
Taupo / 15 / 18 / 1949 / 4th-lowest
Whatawhata / 18 / 18 / 1952 / Lowest
Martinborough / 4 / 9 / 1924 / Lowest
Wellington Aero / 15 / 24 / 1958 / 4th-lowest
Takaka / 9 / 7 / 1976 / Lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 33 / 26 / 1933 / 4th-lowest
Nelson / 12 / 17 / 1941 / 3rd-lowest
Hanmer Forest / 12 / 18 / 1905 / 2nd-lowest
Orari Estate / 12 / 19 / 1897 / 2nd-lowest
Oamaru / 15 / 30 / 1898 / 3rd-lowest
Ranfurly / 15 / 31 / 1943 / 2nd-lowest
Cromwell / 9 / 22 / 1949 / 2nd-lowest
February / / / /
Milford Sound / 166 / 33 / 1929 / 3rd-lowest
March / / / /
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 40 / 41 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
East Taratahi / 7 / 8 / 1926 / 2nd-lowest
Palmerston North / 15 / 21 / 1928 / 2nd-lowest
Levin / 20 / 20 / 1895 / 4th-lowest
Wellington Aero / 20 / 27 / 1958 / 4th-lowest
Hawera / 30 / 33 / 1977 / 3rd-lowest
Ohakune / 26 / 30 / 1961 / Lowest
Wanganui / 28 / 41 / 1987 / 3rd-lowest
Takaka / 42 / 28 / 1976 / 4th-lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 37 / 34 / 1933 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / 10 / 20 / 1941 / 4th-lowest
Hanmer Forest / 11 / 11 / 1905 / 2nd-lowest
Culverden / 3 / 5 / 1921 / Lowest
Timaru / 11 / 21 / 1881 / 4th-lowest
Tara Hills / 6 / 13 / 1949 / 2nd-lowest
Cromwell / 7 / 15 / 1949 / Lowest
April / / / /
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 46 / 42 / 1978 / 2nd-lowest
Taupo / 21 / 29 / 1949 / 3rd-lowest
Takapau Plains / 19 / 22 / 1962 / 2nd-lowest
Dannevirke / 21 / 24 / 1951 / Lowest
Waipawa / 16 / 23 / 1945 / 3rd-lowest
Lumsden / 46 / 64 / 1982 / 4th-lowest
Invercargill / 32 / 34 / 1939 / 4th-lowest
Nugget Point / 28 / 40 / 1930 / 4th-lowest
Tiwai Point / 30 / 29 / 1970 / 3rd-lowest
Balclutha / 24 / 53 / 1964 / 4th-lowest
May / / / /
Takaka / 65 / 39 / 1976 / 4th-lowest
Nelson / 21 / 28 / 1941 / 4th-lowest
Appleby / 24 / 31 / 1941 / 4th-lowest
June / / / /
Hawera / 48 / 41 / 1977 / 2nd-lowest
Reefton / 95 / 55 / 1960 / 4th-lowest
Dunedin / 17 / 23 / 1918 / 2nd-lowest
Manapouri / 25 / 25 / 1961 / 3rd-lowest
Queenstown / 7 / 11 / 1871 / Equal lowest
Lumsden / 18 / 24 / 1982 / Lowest
Cromwell / 6 / 18 / 1949 / 3rd-lowest
Gore / 29 / 41 / 1950 / 3rd-lowest
Darfield / 6 / 9 / 1919 / Lowest
Ranfurly / 0 / 0 / 1943 / Lowest
July / / / /
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 107 / 73 / 1978 / 3rd-lowest
Wellington (Airport) / 52 / 46 / 1958 / 4th-lowest
August / / / /
Dargaville / 53 / 47 / 1943 / 3rd-lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 68 / 50 / 1978 / 4th-lowest
Waipawa (Hawkes Bay) / 8 / 11 / 1945 / Lowest
Lumsden / 34 / 54 / 1982 / Lowest
September / / / /
Lake Tekapo / 9 / 18 / 1925 / 4th-lowest
Lumsden / 26 / 40 / 1982 / 2nd-lowest
November / / / /
Kaitaia / 14 / 14 / 1967 / Lowest
Kerikeri / 9 / 7 / 1981 / Lowest
Kaikohe / 12 / 11 / 1956 / Lowest
Dargaville / 19 / 27 / 1943 / 4th-lowest
Whangarei / 6 / 7 / 1937 / Lowest
Warkworth / 25 / 26 / 1966 / 2nd-lowest
Whangaparaoa / 13 / 19 / 1946 / Lowest
Kumeu (Waitakere) / 20 / 22 / 1978 / Lowest
Whitianga / 24 / 21 / 1961 / Lowest
Auckland (Airport) / 22 / 28 / 1959 / 2nd-lowest
Paeroa / 20 / 22 / 1914 / 3rd-lowest
Matamata / 33 / 36 / 1951 / 3rd-lowest
Tauranga / 12 / 14 / 1898 / Lowest
Whakatane / 12 / 14 / 1952 / 2nd-lowest
Rotorua / 22 / 21 / 1963 / Lowest
Taupo / 22 / 28 / 1949 / 2nd-lowest
Lake Rotoiti / 55 / 40 / 1933 / 4th-lowest
Reefton / 69 / 39 / 1960 / 4th-lowest
Winchmore / 20 / 37 / 1909 / 4th-lowest
Darfield / 14 / 27 / 1919 / 3rd-lowest
Lincoln, Broadfield / 10 / 21 / 1881 / 2nd-lowest
Lake Tekapo / 6 / 15 / 1925 / 4th-lowest
Tara Hills / 3 / 8 / 1949 / Lowest
Wanaka / 9 / 17 / 1927 / 4th-lowest
Ranfurly / 1 / 3 / 1943 / Lowest
Dunedin (Airport) / 22 / 40 / 1918 / 4th-lowest
Lumsden / 18 / 24 / 1982 / Lowest
Cromwell / 6 / 18 / 1949 / Lowest
December / / / /
Kaitaia / 28 / 31 / 1967 / 4th-lowest
Kerikeri / 24 / 23 / 1981 / 3rd-lowest
Taupo / 30 / 27 / 1949 / 2nd-lowest
Turangi / 55 / 43 / 1968 / 2nd-lowest
Takaka / 52 / 39 / 1976 / 4th-lowest


Section 12: Snowfall

It was an extremely snowy year, with numerous snowfall events in 2009. Significant snowfalls, which were widespread and to low levels, were observed 31 May, 16 June, 2-5 July, and 4-6 October. The snowfalls in October were exceptional, being unseasonably late and very heavy. The most notable snowfall event of the year occurred on October 4 – 6 in the Hawkes Bay and Central North Island, and was estimated to be the worst in October since 1967. It caused hundreds of travellers to be stranded, closed numerous roads, and resulted in heavy lambing losses. Snowfall was also observed in Taranaki, Waikato and Rotorua on October 6th, for the first time in about 30 years around Rotorua.

• 8 April
On 8 April, 10 cm of snow fell in the Coronet Peak and Remarkables Ski Areas. Further north, Mt Hutt received 20 cm of snow.

• 8-12 May
Snow fell in Central Otago and the Southern Lakes area on 8 May, with 10 cm at Coronet Peak and 15 cm at the Remarkables ski field. A cold front brought 10-20 cm of snow to inland Otago on 10 May. More than 80 people were trapped for several hours in three tour buses on the Lindis Pass, when it was closed overnight by snow and ice. SH87 from Outram to Middlemarch was also closed. Both roads were re-opened on 11 May. Mt Hutt staff reported a base of 110 cm, after about 170 cm of snow was recorded in 10 days. In the North Island, Mount Taranaki had a snow base of up to 50 cm by 12 May, enough to consider opening the lower and learner's slopes and t-bar.

• 18-21 May
By 18 May, The Remarkables, Treble Cone, Cardrona, and Snow Park skifields had received between 50 cm and 1 m of snow over the preceding three days. Snow closed the Desert Road in the early hours of 20 May, and in Dunedin, Three Mile Hill Road was closed indefinitely and the Northern Motorway open to light vehicles only. SH87 between Outram and Middlemarch, SH85 between Palmerston and Kyeburn, and the Lindis Pass were also closed by snow. On 21 May, SH4 between National Park and Raetihi, and the Desert Road were closed by snow and ice for a few hours. Some schools on the Central Plateau were closed for the day. Between 30 cm and 40 cm of snow fell on the upper slopes of Whakapapa ski field. In Taranaki, snow was reported in Stratford, and black ice caused many motor vehicle accidents. Manganui Ski Field was open with 12 cm of new snow.

• 31 May
Snow, slips and a fallen tree closed the highway between Opotiki and Gisborne on 31 May as wintry conditions brought snow and ice to the country's roads. SH2, the Waioeka Gorge Road, was closed and SH7, Lewis Pass, was closed to towing vehicles. Snow fell to sea level along Wellington's south coast and from Southland to Kaikoura, and blanketed high-country passes, including the Rimutaka Hill Road summit and Desert Road. Snow fell at Mt Hutt skifield adding another 15 cm to the more than 2 m of snow that had fallen in May, and snow settled to about 200 m inland and elsewhere around Canterbury, with about 8 cm on the ground near Springfield and in parts of Otago.

• 16 June
Dunedin Airport and many roads were closed on 16 June, after snow fell to low levels in Otago and Southland. Ten flights were cancelled, and all primary schools and kindergartens in Dunedin were closed for the day. SH1 between Waitati and Dunedin, Milton and Balclutha, and Balclutha and Clinton, and SH93 between Clinton and Mataura were closed by snow. Multiple traffic accidents were caused by the icy conditions, especially on Dunedin’s hills. Roads requiring chains and/or with vehicle restrictions in place were:
• SH1 Dunedin (Andersons Bay) to Mosgiel
• SH87 Outram to Middlemarch
• SH6 Kingston to Dipton
• SH97 Five Rivers to Mossburn
• SH94 Gore to Mossburn
• SH8 Alexandra to Roxburgh
• SH8 Lindis Pass Omarama to Tarras
• SH94 Te Anau to Milford Sound

Further north, SH2 over the Rimutaka Hill north of Wellington, was closed briefly.

• 20 June
SH29, the road over the Kaimai Ranges was closed by ice on 20 June. On the same morning, the edges of the Pauatahanui Inlet, near Porirua, froze over.

• 29 June
On June 29th, snow closed SH8 from Fairlie to Tekapo, and extreme caution was needed on the Desert Road through the central North Island, SH29 through Turiko in the Bay of Plenty, and SH 94 near Te Anau. Chains were also required on SH 73 near Arthurs Pass.
• 2-5 July
On 2 July, the Desert Road between Rangipo and Waiouru was closed overnight by snow. Heavy snow on 3 July brought down trees, closing the Haast Pass. Cromwell was cut off as SH8 to Roxburgh, SH85 to Omakau, the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown, and the Lindis Pass were all closed. Schools in Cromwell, Alexandra, Roxburgh and Omakau were closed on what was the last day of term. On 5 July, a risk of avalanche on the access road forced the Mt Hutt ski field to close for the day, after about 20 cm of snow fell overnight.

• 13-19 July
On 13 July snow and ice closed SH1 at the Desert Road, and roads in Otago and South Canterbury were affected by black ice. The first Wilson Cup curling fixture in six years was played on natural ice at Idaburn Dam near Oturehua on 14 July. The ice was about 15 cm thick. Snow closed the Desert Road section of SH1 for a short time on 18 July. A freezing front brought snow, hail, sleet and icy winds to Otago and Southland on 19 July. SH93 between Clinton and Mataura, and SH87 from Mosgiel to Kyeburn were closed by snow.

• 1-2 August
Trees, and snow up to 5 m deep, from a series of avalanches over 1-2 August, blocked SH94, closing the only road access to Milford Sound. Both ends of the Homer Tunnel were buried in more than 100,000 tonnes of debris. It re-opened for nine hours on 10 August, but was closed again at 5 pm. It again re-opened on the morning of 11 August.

• 2 September
On 2 September, snow closed the Crown Range Road, and both Cardrona and The Remarkables skifields after 25-35 cm of fresh snow fell overnight. The Milford Road, and Old Coach Road from Mataura to Clinton, were also closed in the morning.

• 24 September
SH2 over the Rimutaka Hill was closed by snow for several hours on 24 September. Heavy snow also fell in the Tararua district, closing both the Pahiatua Track and Saddle Road. The weight of the snow tore boughs from trees, interrupted power supplies, and some houses in Atea Valley were on low voltage power all night, meaning appliances like television sets, computers, fridges and freezers had to be turned off. In the Nelson region, SH60 was closed at Takaka Hill.

• 3-6 October
On 3 October, 20 cm of snow was reported to low levels in Fiordland and Southland. Coronet Peak skifield received 7 cm of fresh powder overnight on 2-3 October, while Treble Cone received 20 cm of snow, and Cardrona 15 cm. Overnight 4-5 October, an unseasonably late and heavy snowfall event affected several hundred motorists, who were stranded in up to 50cm of snow along the Napier- Taupo Highway. Most were rescued by the army, but some spent the night in their vehicles. Snow was reported as far north as Te Aroha and Katikati, and on Mt Taranaki. Unexpected snow in the Motu-Matawai area, and further south at Te Pohue, caused significant losses in newborn lambs and calves.

Roads closed by snow on 5 October were SH1 between Turangi and Taihape, SH5 from Taupo to Napier, SH38 in the Urewera National Park, SH47 at Turangi, SH49 from its junction with SH4 to Waiouru. The Desert Road, Napier-Taupo Road and SH38 remained closed until 7 October. On 6 October, Waikato residents woke to see snow on Mt Pirongia and Mt Te Aroha. A DoC ranger reported 15 cm of snow on the road up Mt Te Aroha, the heaviest fall since 1978. On Mt Taranaki, skiers could not reach the Manganui ski field because the access road was blocked by fallen trees. About 20-25 cm of snow covered the road. At North Egmont car park a car was trapped in snow, forcing the owner to spend the night in the hut. Snow was also reported in the Rotorua district, for the first time in about 30 years.

• 8-9 October
Snow started falling in Central Otago in the evening on 8 October, and further north in Canterbury, it was reported in Darfield and Kirwee early in the morning of 9 October. Mt Hutt ski field received about 50 cm of new snow.


Section 13: Sunshine extremes

Record or near-record extremes of sunshine hours were recorded in each month of the year during 2009, with 6 months being particularly sunny in various locations, and 1 month (February) being very cloudy. Three months (May, October, and November) displayed a range of extremes, with both record high and record low sunshine totals being experienced in different regions of the country.

Table 14: Monthly sunshine extremes were recorded at:

Location / Sunshine (hours) / Percentage of normal / Year Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Kaitaia / 281 / 122 / 1985 / 2nd-highest
Tauranga / 324 / 128 / 1933 / 2nd-highest
Taumarunui / 292 / 144 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Turangi / 296 / 133 / 1976 / Highest
Dannevirke / 261 / 124 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Martinborough / 280 / 121 / 1986 / Highest
Waipawa / 297 / 147 / 1945 / Highest
Takaka / 286 / 121 / 1985 / 2nd-highest
Greymouth / 259 / 134 / 1947 / 3rd-highest
Appleby / 319 / 120 / 1948 / 4th-highest
Blenheim / 305 / 118 / 1947 / 3rd-highest
Cheviot / 292 / 123 / 1983 / Highest
February / / / /
Takaka / 177 / 82 / 1985 / 3rd-lowest
Blenheim / 173 / 76 / 1947 / Equal lowest
Cheviot / 149 / 77 / 1983 / 2nd-lowest
Christchurch Aero / 133 / 68 / 1930 / 4th-lowest
Timaru / 108 / 63 / 1930 / 2nd-lowest
Cromwell / 190 / 89 / 1979 / 2nd-lowest
March / / / /
Kaitaia / 268 / 144 / 1985 / Highest
Dargaville / 232 / 136 / 1943 / 2nd-highest
Te Kuiti / 223 / 141 / 1962 / 2nd-highest
Taumarunui / 210 / 135 / 1947 / 3rd-highest
Turangi / 225 / 130 / 1976 / 2nd-highest
Takaka / 238 / 108 / 1985 / 3rd-highest
Nelson / 263 / 124 / 1948 / Equal 3rd-highest
Cheviot / 212 / 113 / 1983 / 3rd-highest
April / / / /
Taumarunui / 167 / 131 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Dannevirke / 191 / 137 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Martinborough / 178 / 117 / 1986 / 3rd-highest
Waipawa / 206 / 141 / 1945 / 4th-highest
Invercargill / 163 / 148 / 1932 / Highest
Balclutha / 173 / 151 / 1964 / Highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 139 / 88 / 1985 / 3rd-lowest
May / / / /
Kaitaia / 185 / 124 / 1985 / Highest
Greymouth / 165 / 166 / 1947 / Highest
Cheviot / 144 / 118 / 1983 / 3rd-highest
/ / / /
Turangi 2 Ews / 123 / 84 / 1976 / 4th-lowest
New Plymouth Aero / 119 / 83 / 1972 / 4th-lowest
Martinborough Ews / 92 / 69 / 1986 / Lowest
Stratford Ews / 98 / 79 / 1963 / Lowest
June / / / /
Dargaville / 137 / 152 / 1943 / 2nd-highest
Ruakura / 149 / 145 / 1936 / 3rd-highest
Te Kuiti / 131 / 154 / 1962 / 2nd-highest
Taumarunui / 128 / 188 / 1947 / Highest
Cheviot / 113 / 125 / 1983 / 2nd-highest
Lake Tekapo / 163 / 165 / 1928 / Highest
July / / / /
Martinborough / 79 / 71 / 1986 / 4th-lowest
Paraparaumu / 90 / 73 / 1953 / 3rd-lowest
August / / / /
Dannevirke / 162 / 134 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Martinborough / 171 / 116 / 1986 / 3rd-highest
Waipawa / 183 / 133 / 1945 / 2nd-highest
Paraparaumu / 179 / 126 / 1953 / 4th-highest
Wallaceville / 162 / 132 / 1939 / 3rd-highest
Balclutha / 150 / 130 / 1964 / 3rd-highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 143 / 91 / 1985 / 2nd-lowest
Mt Cook / 65 / 59 / 1930 / 2nd-lowest
September / / / /
Te Kuiti / 178 / 150 / 1962 / Highest
Taumarunui / 171 / 156 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
Turangi / 173 / 127 / 1976 / 2nd-highest
Hokitika / 186 / 130 / 1964 / 4th-highest
Greymouth / 205 / 155 / 1947 / 3rd-highest
October / / / /
Hokitika / 218 / 138 / 1964 / 4th-highest
Greymouth / 233 / 162 / 1947 / 2nd-highest
/ / / /
Martinborough / 158 / 85 / 1986 / 3rd-lowest
Wallaceville / 110 / 65 / 1939 / 4th-lowest
Stratford / 130 / 76 / 1963 / 3rd-lowest
November / / / /
Turangi / 225 / 121 / 1976 / 4th-highest
Cromwell / 282 / 129 / 1979 / 3rd-highest
Balclutha / 249 / 146 / 1964 / Highest
/ / / /
Kaitaia / 160 / 84 / 1985 / 3rd-lowest
Dargaville / 137 / 75 / 1943 / 3rd-lowest
December / / / /
Kaitaia / 287 / 131 / 1985 / Highest
Te Kuiti / 223 / 127 / 1962 / 3rd-highest
Tauranga / 285 / 123 / 1932 / 3rd-highest
Turangi / 240 / 125 / 1976 / 3rd-highest
Dannevirke / 241 / 125 / 1963 / 2nd-highest
Waipawa / 253 / 137 / 1945 / 3rd-highest


Section 14: Severe or damaging hail and electrical storms

• 3 January
On 3 January, lightning strikes on feeders in the Dunsandel and Lincoln areas affected power to about 600 properties, and closed Christchurch International Airport for half an hour. Thunder and hail in Christchurch forced the postponement of the international cricket match against the West Indies, while large, 2 cm hailstones whipped across roads and buildings in Waipara, bringing traffic to a standstill, and denting cars.

• 18 January
About 1000 lightning strikes were recorded in Christchurch on 18 January, causing several brief power outages. Hail was also reported.

• 7 March
Lightning strikes on 7 March cut power to approximately 74,000 consumers in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Te Puke, for about 2 hours.

• 6 May
Wellington was hit by thunder, lightning and hail in the early morning of 6 May. Minor flooding affected the southern suburbs, and hail up to 5 cm deep was reported in the eastern suburbs.

• 10-11 May
Thunderstorms and hail affected Hamilton mid afternoon on 10 May. On 11 May, thunderstorms and hail struck Tauranga, Whakatane and Opotiki with hail stones the size of a 20 cent coin, up to 10 cm deep in places, blocking drains and flooding several streets and houses. The hail cut a ragged swathe across kiwifruit orchards, devastating some orchards and bypassing others completely. At Papamoa School a ceiling collapsed and classrooms were flooded.


• 17 May
Taranaki was affected by lightning strikes on 17 May, damaging transformers and downing power lines, cutting power to 230 properties.

• 28 June
A two-hour lightning and thunderstorm hit Auckland and Northland on 28 June, with hundreds of strikes between 10 pm and midnight, including at least one which hit the Sky Tower. The storm also brought heavy rain, causing some flash flooding.

• 26 August
Thunderstorms brought heavy rain to Mt Taranaki on 26 August. Lightning strikes were also reported in Auckland, and the western Bay of Plenty where the storm cut power to more than 8000 homes, and damaged property.

• 2-4 September
Two electrical storms struck Southland early on 2 September, damaging trees outside and electrical equipment inside. A third storm struck Invercargill about 6 pm, with lightning strike hitting a transformer, knocking out power to several houses. On 4 September, hail occurred in Wellington, and at the Matawhero sheep sale, Gisborne.

• 28 September
On 28 September, an Air New Zealand flight from New Plymouth to Christchurch was diverted to Nelson, following a suspected lightning strike. Lightning was reported from many North Island locations.

• 14 December
On 14 December, severe hailstorms in inland Canterbury (from Geraldine to north of Rangiora) caused thousands of dollars of damage to vegetable and arable crops.


Section 15: Tornadoes, high winds, and rough seas

• 3 January
Gale force winds on 3 January caused havoc in Canterbury with thousands of homes left without power. Lines were blown down in central Christchurch, and in Ashburton, winds brought trees down on to power lines, causing short circuits and fires, cutting power to more than 10,000 homes in the area. On the same day, a tornado hit a farmhouse on the southern outskirts of Waikouaiti, ripping tiles off the roof, smashing windows, splintering trees and felling nearby power lines. The family cat took refuge inside the piano.

• 8 January
On 8 January, a tornado ripped the roof off the Bannockburn Hotel, and dumped it onto nearby power lines. Power was cut to 450 customers in the area for about 20 minutes.

• 18 January
Wind and warm temperature combined to create a rare waterspout off Sumner Beach, Christchurch on 18 January.

• 5-6 March
Winds reached 154 km/hr at Cape Reinga overnight on 5–6 March, and 93 km/hr across Auckland Harbour. The high winds caused property damage, and brought down trees and power lines.

• 11 May
A tornado damaged homes in Warkworth on 11 May.

• 15 May
Strong winds buffetted Wellington on 15 May, damaging power lines and cutting power for a few hours to 2500 homes in Karori and Makara. Four domestic flights into the capital were cancelled and another four were diverted to other airports. Two flights out of the city were cancelled. Trees and fences were blown down, and a parked van was lifted up on to the footpath on Evans Bay Parade. A large glass roof panel on Miramar Library, and a glass veranda panel from an apartment above Taranaki St were damaged.

• 17 May
Taranaki was hit by a mini tornado on 17 May, with a trampoline flung 40 m, windows smashed, and about 20 trees flattened on a property in Opunake. Nearby 15 30-year old trees were knocked over, and three sides of a hay barn were flung 100 m across a paddock, leaving the hay stacked nicely. High winds also blew a tree down across SH2 at White Pines Bush, about 15 km north of Napier. In Wellington, flying debris from gales knocked out power for 2-3 hours to about 3000 homes Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, and Johnsonville. SH77 was closed to campervans and other high-sided vehicles because of the high winds.

• 20May
On 20 May, several large waterspouts were reported offshore from Papamoa between Motiti Island and Town Point, accompanied by very strong winds. Near Akaroa, gale-force wind gusts brought down a tree, blocking SH75. Further north, the gales also caused the delay or cancellation of Cook Strait ferries.

• 23-24 May
Southerly gales hammered Wellington over the weekend of 23-24 May, closing roads, tearing boats from their moorings, and damaging trees, roofs and power lines. Cook Strait ferries were cancelled, and flights were delayed, cancelled or diverted. Trees brought down power poles near Upper Hutt cutting power to about 1200 houses on 23 May. Power was restored to most homes after several hours, but a few customers were without power until the evening of the 24th. A fallen tree blocked SH2 at Tutira, 45 km from Napier, closing the road for at least two hours.

• 30-31 May
Eastern South Island, Wellington and eastern North Island were buffeted by high winds over the weekend of 30-31 May. Two teenage girls were rescued in atrocious weather and strong southerly winds kayaking off New Plymouth's East End Beach on 31 May.

• 12 June
A storm on 12 June caused havoc in the Gisborne region, triggering a series of power outages due to wind damage. All power was restored by the afternoon of 13 June.

• 4 July
A tornado affected Kaitaia on 4 July, damaging at least 20 homes, as well as the local hospital.

• 11 July
Severe winds in Northland on 11 July brought down trees, in one case crushing a caravan and killing one of the occupants. Many homes in Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel were without electricity after falling trees brought down power lines.

• 18 July
High winds in Northland on 18 July cut power to about 5,000 buildings.

• 21 July
A tornado was reported in the morning of 21 July, just north of Cromwell, causing a dust storm at the local quarry. That evening, a mini tornado damaged houses in Opunake, and brought down power lines.

• 23 July
High winds on 23 July closed the Rimutaka Hill Road from 8 pm until about 9 pm. In Wellington, gale-force winds of up to 130 km/hr ripped the glass of a balcony in the central city, and a contractor had to abseil in to secure the site. In the Wairarapa, the storm brought down trees and branches on to high voltage lines, cutting power to substations at Tinui and Awatoitoi, and briefly cutting power to about 4000 customers from Masterton to Castlepoint. Further north, powerlines between Tokomaru Bay and Ruatoria were also damaged when trees were blown over by the strong northwesterlies.

• 2 September
A 10 m twister caused havoc on an Invercargill farm on 2 September, when it picked up water from a ditch throwing it as high as the power lines, and taking the corrugated roof off a shed.

• 14 September
A significant wind event occurred on September 14th, with widespread and record-high wind gusts experienced over the southern half of the South Island during a storm-force northwesterly event. Damage included felled power lines and lifted roofs on the Otago peninsula. Near Arrowtown, a tree felled by the wind, crashed on to a vehicle, killing the driver.

• 17 September
A tornado funnel cloud, reported over eastern Taranaki on 17 September, dissipated before it touched the ground.

• 28 September
On 28 September, a tornado in Ramarama, south of Auckland, damaged properties, some severely, and uprooted trees.

• 4-5 October
Gusty cross-winds forced the closure of New Plymouth airport for 20 hours from 3 pm on 4 October. The strong winds also brought down trees and cut the power supply to about 1000 properties in Taranaki, particularly Okato, Oakura, and Hawera. Power was also cut to about 1200 homes in the Rotorua district after high winds brought down trees. High winds on 5 October, together with the heavy snow, brought down trees and power poles in the central North Island, leaving about 1300 people without power. Some properties were without power for four days. Stock losses, particularly late born lambs, occurred in the Wairarapa during the first week in October, after several days of strong, very cold, southerly winds.

• 4 November
Extreme winds were experienced over parts of Fiordland, Southland, Central Otago and Canterbury on the 4th. A container ship was from its moorings at the port of Lyttelton.

• 13-15 November
On 13 November, strong winds caused havoc in Canterbury, grounding helicopters, felling trees, and downing power lines. Winds at Masterton were too strong for three original World War I planes and 17 replicas to take to the skies at the Remembrance Day World War I Air Show, on the 14th of the month. On 15 November, gale force winds toppled the main food and wine tent at Toast Martinborough. Two more marquees were crumpled, signs were ripped from their posts, and power was knocked out at Ata Rangi vineyard.

• 26-28 November
Wind brought down trees and power lines down at Porangahau on November 26. On the 27th, extreme winds were experienced in Central Otago and Southland. Caravans were knocked over in Canterbury on the 28th, and gusts to 130 km/hr were experienced in West Melton.

• 12 December
On 12 December, high winds in North Canterbury brought down trees and tore roofs off houses and sheds in Kaikoura. A tornado was reported near Springfield, 70 km west of Christchurch on 14 December.

• 18 December
Winds gusted up to 130 km/hr in exposed areas of Canterbury, Otago, Southland and Fiordland. Winds also blasted the lower North Island and upper South Island, with gusts of up to 100 km/hr reported on the Rimutaka Hill road (SH2).

Table 15: Near or record high extreme wind gusts were recorded at:

Location / Extreme wind gust speed (km/hr) / Date of extreme gust / Year Records began / Comments
January / / / /
Winchmore / 106 / 2nd / 1970 / Highest
Lauder / 107 / 2nd / 1981 / Equal 3rd-highest
Milford Sound / 98 / 2nd / 1974 / Equal 4th-highest
February / / / /
Cape Reinga / 122 / 27th / 1974 / 4th-highest
Kaikohe / 72 / 28th / 1986 / Highest
Whenuapai / 82 / 28th / 1972 / Equal 4th-highest
Tauranga / 83 / 20th / 1973 / 3rd-highest
Whakatane / 85 / 20th / 1974 / Highest
Hamilton / 70 / 28th / 1978 / Equal 4th-highest
Turangi / 78 / 1st / 1973 / 4th-highest
Castlepoint / 139 / 1st / 1972 / 4th-highest
Puysegur Point / 145 / 8th / 1986 / 4th-highest
Gore / 107 / 8th / 1987 / 2nd-highest
April / / / /
Cape Reinga / 130 / 24th / 1974 / 3rd-highest
Rotorua / 87 / 20th / 1972 / 4th-highest
Hicks Bay / 120 / 21st / 1975 / Equal 4th-highest
May / / / /
Cape Reinga / 150 / 8th / 1974 / 3rd-highest
Kaikohe / 83 / 8th / 1986 / Equal highest
Hawera / 82 / 24th / 1986 / 4th-highest
Milford Sound / 120 / 10th / 1974 / 4th-highest
Blenheim / 93 / 17th / 1972 / 2nd-highest
July / / / /
Kaitaia / 106 / 18th / 1985 / 4th-highest
Kaikohe / 82 / 18th / 1986 / Equal 3rd-highest
Whangarei / 104 / 18th / 1973 / Equal 4th-highest
Castlepoint / 148 / 21st / 1972 / Highest
Paraparaumu / 109 / 23rd / 1972 / Equal 2nd-highest
Westport / 163 / 3rd / 1973 / Highest
Tara Hills / 85 / 21st / 1985 / Equal highest
Gore / 104 / 21st / 1987 / 2nd-highest
August / / / /
Napier / 91 / 27th / 1973 / 4th-highest
Farewell Spit / 91 / 25th / 1973 / Equal 4th-highest
Westport / 100 / 31st / 1973 / Highest
Hokitika / 100 / 25th / 1972 / 4th-highest
September / / / /
Westport / 91 / 24th / 1973 / Equal 3rd-highest
Tara Hills / 107 / 14th / 1985 / Highest
Lauder / 119 / 14th / 1981 / Equal 4th-highest
October / / / /
Hawera / 96 / 9th / 1986 / Highest
November / / / /
Castlepoint / 161 / 4th / 1972 / 3rd-highest
Puysegur Point (Fiordland) / 145 / 4th / 1986 / 2nd-highest
Tara Hills (Omarama) / 87 / 27th / 1985 / Equal 4th-highest
Lauder / 132 / 4th / 1981 / Equal highest
Gore / 120 / 27th / 1987 / 4th-highest
December / / / /
Farewell Spit / 93 / 30th / 1973 / Equal 3rd-highest
Puysegur Point / 145 / 18th / 1986 / Equal 2nd-highest
Blenheim / 109 / 30th / 1972 / 2nd-highest
Tara Hills / 89 / 18th / 1985 / Equal 3rd-highest
Lauder / 106 / 18th / 1981 / 3rd-highest

Section 16: Fog

Fog on 27 June disrupted domestic flights out of Auckland International Airport with 25 flights cancelled. International flights were not affected.

On 18 July, Christchurch Airport was brought to a standstill by thick fog. Dozens of flights were diverted, delayed or cancelled.


© Copyright NIWA 2010. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgement of NIWA as the source is required.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

NZ's Space Programme: Rocket Lab Makes It To Space (But Not Orbit)

Electron lifted-off at 16:20 NZST from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. It was the first orbital-class rocket launched from from a private launch site in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Budget: Irrigate (Good Times, Come On!)

Additional grant funding of $26.7 million over the next three years plus a capital boost of $63 million towards irrigation investments in Budget 2017 will deliver economic and environmental benefits through better use of water... More>>

ALSO:

Silver Fern Farms: Proposal To Close Fairton Sheepmeat Plant

Silver Fern Farms has advised its people of the proposal to permanently close the site, and has discussed potential transfer options to its other sites in the region as part of the consultation process...
More>>

ALSO:

MPI: Myrtle Rust Appears In Taranaki

The nursery in Waitara (just north of New Plymouth) reported suspected myrtle rust symptoms on young plants to the Ministry’s 0800 number yesterday (Tuesday). More>>

ALSO: