Tuesday, 25 February 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Rings Beach witnessed North Island's wettest day for 2019

It’s a tiny community, tucked well off the beaten path on the eastern Coromandel coast. But Rings Beach, just west of Kuaotunu, has secured a rather dubious title.

The beautiful spot witnessed the North Island’s wettest day for 2019, when 226mm of rain fell on 9 September. The deluge came during one of the worst weather events to hit the Coromandel last year, causing flooding, evacuations, cutting off communities and eventually forcing the closure of the Kuaotunu River Bridge on State Highway 25 for almost a month.

Rings Beach’s chart-topping performance is detailed in weather statistics for 2019 the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) released recently.

As well as announcing where the highs and lows for the year occurred, the organisation also published data for the entire decade, which found that four out the last six years were the warmest on record in New Zealand - with 2016 still holding the title of hottest ever. In the past 10 years, more weather records have been broken than in any other time in New Zealand’s history.

The decade’s hottest temperature was recorded in Timaru on 6 February 2011. It was Waitangi Day and the mercury climbed steadily throughout the day until it got to a searing 41.3ᵒC.

Tara Hills, located northwest of Dunedin in Otago claimed the lowest temperature of the past 10 years, hitting -21.0°C on 24 June 2015 - the fourth lowest temperature on record for the country.

Somewhat predictably, the windy capital lived up to its reputation with the past decade’s maximum wind gust of 217 km/h recorded at Baring Head, Wellington on 12 March 2010. Meanwhile, Gore takes the far more pleasant honour of the decade’s sunniest single day, clocking up 15.3 hours of bright sunshine on 23 December 2018.

Looking back at last year, Rings Beach’s soggy statistic put in third place for the nation’s wettest day behind two South Island spots well known for their rainfall - Milford Sound with 401mm on 25 March and Aoraki/Mt Cook Village with 291mm on 26 March. Both were also the two wettest places in New Zealand for the year.

The Hanmer Forest weather station, near Hanmer Springs in Canterbury, joins the 2019 honours board boasting the hottest recorded temperature with 38.4ᵒC, a high for the station since records began there in 1906. The coldest temperature for 2019 was -9.2ᵒC at Lake Tekapo on 3 June.

Overall, 2019 was New Zealand’s fourth warmest year on record based on seven weather stations around New Zealand that have been monitored since 1909. series. The seven locations - Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Hokitika, Nelson, Lincoln and Dunedin - were chosen because they provide broad geographical coverage.

Many parts of the country observed record or near-record high mean, mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures. Notably, Tauranga had its warmest year since records began there in 1913.

It has now been 35 consecutive months since New Zealand had a month with below average temperatures.

Pictured: Rings Beach, west of Kuaotunu, just before sunset last Sunday. The beach witnessed the North Island's wettest day for 2019, when 226mm of rain fell on 9 September.

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