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Climate Summary 3/14: Dryness persists in North Island

March climate summary

March 2014 was characterised by anomalously high pressure over much of New Zealand, and in particular, over the South Island. In spite of the overall surface pressure regime being abnormally high, there were periods of lower pressure, which contributed to the occurrence of a few moderate-to-heavy rainfall events during the month.

For the most part, with regards to rainfall on the North Island, March picked up where February ended as abnormally dry conditions were experienced for the start of autumn. Well below normal rainfall (less than 50% of March normal) occurred for a sizeable part of the North Island between the Manawatu-Wanganui and Auckland regions.

In fact, numerous locations placed in their top three for driest March on record. This includes Hamilton, which experienced its second driest March on record with only 6 mm of rain accumulating for the month (records go back to 1935). There were patches of near normal (within 20% of normal) rainfall on the North Island including the Wellington and eastern Hawke’s Bay regions. Isolated areas of above rainfall (120-149% of normal) or well above normal rainfall (more than 149% of March normal) occurred on the hills around the Coromandel Peninsula, largely due to the impacts of ex-tropical cyclone Lusi during the middle part of the month.

For full summary and regional analysis please see attachment

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