Monday, 13 July 2020


How did the weather this winter compare to previous years?

After what many people have perceived as a relatively mild winter, the first two weeks of this month wasn’t the early start to spring anyone in Mercury Bay expected.

With 252.6mm of rain from 1 to 11 September (145.6mm on Monday and Tuesday last week alone), it most certainly has been very wet. There was widespread flooding last week and several slips occurred. However, the month has a long way to go to claim the title as the wettest September. That’s a record that belongs, so far, to September 1997 when rainfall of 637.2mm was measured in Whitianga.

The driest September on record was 1965 when, in the words of Lewis Farris, a Metservice Communications Meteorologist, “a measly 33mm” of rain was measured.

So, how did the weather this winter compare to previous years?

June this year saw only 85mm of rain measured in Whitianga. The month was significantly drier than June 2018, when 261mm was recorded. On average (determined across the past 28 years), the town receives 149mm of rain in June.

The highest temperature recorded in Whitianga in June this year was 19°C and the lowest temperature was 1°C. That was exactly on par with the average highest temperature for June as measured across the past approximately three decades (19°C highest and 1°C lowest). The highest temperature in June 2018 was also 19°C, while the lowest was -1°C.

July this year was a wet month in Mercury Bay. In Whitianga, 236mm of rain was measured. That was significantly above the 162mm recorded in July last year and the historical average of 175mm.

The warmest day in Whitianga in July this year was 18°C, similar to both the highest temperature recorded in July last year and the highest historical average temperature for the month. July was not quite as cold as previous years. The coldest temperature measured was 1°C, while coldest historical average for the month is -1°C. The coldest temperature recorded in July last year was 0°C.

Last month was a wetter than normal August. Whitianga received 151mm of rain. The historical average for the month is 140mm. In August last year, rainfall of 118mm was recorded in the town.

Temperature-wise, the highest temperature in August this year in Whitianga was 20°C, higher than both the highest historical average of 19°C and the highest temperature of 18°C recorded in August last year. A minimum temperature of 2°C was recorded in Whitianga in August this year, slightly colder than the 3°C recorded last year, but above the minimum historical average of 0°C.

Overall, winter in Mercury Bay turned out, after a relatively dry start, to be as wet as previous years. The maximum temperatures were similar to previous years, while the coldest temperatures were, in general, somewhat warmer than previous years.

Pictured: Mercury Bay resident, Claire Elliot, walking her horse on Tuesday last week toMercury Bay resident, Claire Elliot, walking her horse on Tuesday last week tohigher ground along Black Jack Road on the Otama flats outside her and her family’s farm. The flood water had just started to recede. The farm fence is just visible on the left.


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