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Author Topic: NZ weather summary February 1958  (Read 3890 times)

Offline Rwood

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NZ weather summary February 1958
« on: May 05, 2018, 01:48:59 PM »
February 1958: A wet month, with extensive flooding. It was also cloudy, warm and humid. Over the greater part of the country the rain was welcomed after dry weather in January, and stocks and crops benefited. In some inland districts of Canterbury and Otago conditions were considered too wet for sheep.

Rainfall:
Rainfall was from two to four times the normal value in the Auckland province (except Gisborne) and also in most western and inland areas of the South Island south of Hokitika. From Kaitaia northward and in a small area around Hamilton totals exceed four times the average. In these areas it was by far the wettest February on record; and in Hamilton it was the wettest of any month in over 50 years of observation, Ruakura receiving 12.75”. [Te Paki station,Te Hapua in the far north had 17.28”, almost 5 times the average.]

Heavy rain in the Auckland province on the 23rd and 24rd caused unusually widespread flooding, affecting especially the King Country, the Kaitaia district, and the Waikato, Tongariro, Wanganui and Rangitikei rivers. The Auckland-Wellington railway line and main roads were closed for many days. Among the heaviest falls over the two days were 12” at Rangipo and 9.7” at Glenbrook, Otorohanga. In the south, Milford Sound received a total of 69”, its highest monthly rainfall and not far short of the New Zealand record for a month of 73” at Homer Tunnel in February 1940 [since surpassed by a large margin with the advent of higher altitude rainfall sites]. The fall of 20.5” on the 12th at Milford was also one of the highest ever recorded in the country. The heavy rain extended to the Lakes district, and the Clutha River was in flood from about the 13th of the month.

Temperatures: Temperatures had been cooler than normal for the previous 4 months, but February was warmer than normal throughout the country. Departures were mainly 3F-5F, but were somewhat lower in eastern districts of the South Island.

Sunshine:
Sunshine was more than an hour per day below normal, except in eastern districts of the North Island and on the Southland Plain. Over a considerable part of the South Island, from Central Otago northward, it was the cloudiest February on record, and in some places such as Nelson also by far the cloudiest summer month.

[Nelson’s 128 was almost 100 hrs below average. For most of the South Island and the southwest of the North Island, the 1957-58 summer was one of the worst on record from a recreational viewpoint, particularly in Central Otago and the high country from the Lakes to mid-Canterbury. The period October 1957 to March 1958 also generally fits this description.]
                                                                                                   
[Some totals: Te Hapua 163, Kaitaia 174, Kerikeri 145, Whangarei 149, Auckland 160, Tauranga 176, Whakatane 190, Taupo 150, Hamilton 165, New Plymouth 154, Masterton 200, Gisborne 214, Napier 216, Paraparaumu 144, Ohakea 161, Palmerston North 168, Levin 158, Wellington 168, Wanganui 157, Westport 101, Greymouth 100, Hokitika 112, Haast 88, Nelson 128, Blenheim 191, Grassmere 182, Mt Cook 109, Methven 138, Christchurch 125, Tekapo 150, Timaru 111, Waimate 94, Omarama 120, Dunedin 117, Queenstown 150, Alexandra 139,  Invercargill 190, Campbell Is 92, Chatham Is 109.]


Sources: NZ Met. Misc. pub. 107 (Climatological table, NZ Gazette) and NZ Met. Misc. pub. 109 (Meteorological Observations) - additional comments by the poster.




Offline ato2

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Re: NZ weather summary February 1958
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2018, 01:58:29 PM »
Gosh, those are dramatic rainfall totals. And some very miserable  sunshine hours!
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Offline Rwood

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Re: NZ weather summary February 1958
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2018, 02:41:20 PM »

Yes, the rainfalls did a lot of widespread damage. Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Marlborough did fairly well for sun but most of the South Island had terrible totals. An unusual aspect of that is the contrast between Invercargill's equal record high February sun (at the time), and record lows (at that time) at Dunedin and Alexandra. The weather sequence report mentions a stationary trough through Cook Strait from the 15th to the 19th, with rain being general except in the far south, which could explain some of it. In Invercargill the week 14th-20th produced an unusually high tally of 76.1 hours of sun - I can recall some warm sunny days on the school grounds - just 1.0 hours at Waimate in the same week.

Some while back I saw a post on Facebook - an old school friend put it up because it contained some Invercargill shots. It was one of those old newsreels (Pathe or similar?), covering February 1958 - the usual gung-ho commentary style, in a clipped artificial accent. A bit of the Queen Mother visit and some sort of boat race on the Wanganui, the river clearly not recovered from flooding, with a lot of muddy bank damage. You'd never think from the commentary that it had been a pretty devastating month for weather ...


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