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Author Topic: NZ weather summary April 1968  (Read 4492 times)

Offline Rwood

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NZ weather summary April 1968
« on: April 06, 2015, 10:49:39 AM »
The infamous "Giselle/Wahine" month. Various papers and analyses followed over the years. An extract from Erick Brenstrum's "The New Zealand Weather Book" gives an excellent description of the weather involved:

https://www.iwonderweather.co.nz/story/Wahine/6356/topic/forecasting

April 1968: The weather for April was dominated by a tropical storm which originated near New Caledonia. It crossed the North Island on the night of 9th-10th and moved down the Canterbury coast on the 11th. Violent gales caused damage over the greater part of the North Island and the northern half of the South Island. The greatest destruction from wind was in and around Wellington, where southerly winds averaged as much as 80 mph on the morning of the 10th, with gusts to 125 miles per hour; while on exposed hilltops gusts were recorded to over 150 mph. Thousands of trees were uprooted, and roofs were blown off houses. During the storm the inter-island ferry Wahine ran aground at the mouth of Wellington Harbour. Flooding occurred in many areas, notably around Christchurch and Banks Peninsula on the 12th and in Southland and West Otago on the 15th.

Rainfall: Rainfall was above average or close to average over almost the whole country. It was more than double the average on the east coast of the South Island and up to about 50 miles inland from Balclutha to Blenheim; north of a line from Hamilton to Tauranga; and also over the greater part of the area south of a line from Stratford to Waipukurau. Around Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula some stations recorded 5-8 times the average value, the highest totals there being 27.69” at Hickory Bay in the east, and 20.46” at Purau, on Lyttelton Harbour. In these areas at least 2/3 of the monthly total was recorded on the 10th and 11th, amounting to 16.21” at Hickory Bay and 14.33” at Purau; while many other stations had more than 8” for these 2 days. The highest totals for the month were recorded at two stations in central Northland, Tau’s Falls with 31.05” and Puketi with 30.71”. At Puketi the total for the first 3 days of the month was 11.86”, for the first 9 days 28.52” and for the 14-day period 27 March–9 April 33.8”. Flooding was reported in Northland on the 3rd and again on the 9th-10th. Heavy rain caused flooding in Buller and North Westland on the 9th.

The Southern Lakes district received less than half the average rainfall, and it was also appreciably drier than usual in Fiordland and over the greater part of the Alps.

Temperatures:  Temperatures were 1F-2F below average over the South Island and 1F-2F above average over the southern half of the North Island. The first 9 days were exceptionally warm for April.

Sunshine: Sunshine was below average over most of the country. Greatest deficiencies of up to 50 hours were recorded in Canterbury and Nelson, also in parts of the central North Island. Nelson, Hanmer, Christchurch and Lake Tekapo all had their lowest April sunshine since 1938.

[Some totals: Kaitaia 149, Kerikeri 140, Whangarei 127, Leigh 134, Auckland 122, Tauranga 137, Whakatane 167, Taupo 135, Opotiki 152, Hamilton 134, New Plymouth 132, Masterton 114, Dannevirke 118, Gisborne 144, Napier 158, Wairoa 138, Paraparaumu 140, Ohakea 148, Palmerston North 123, Levin 148, Wellington 118, Stratford 122, Ohakune 82, Wanganui 139, Westport 132, Hokitika 130, Greymouth 105, Haast 149, Riwaka 140, Nelson 136, Blenheim 173, Grassmere 133, Kaikoura 101, Mt Cook 86, Mt John 124, Methven 102, Christchurch 95, Tekapo 117, Timaru 87, Waimate 99, Omarama 132, Dunedin Airport 106, Dunedin 97, Oamaru 98, Queenstown 91, Alexandra 129, Invercargill 117, Campbell Is 57 {22 above average}].

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




« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 10:46:11 AM by Rwood »



Offline Rwood

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 10:53:33 AM »
A noteworthy PS is a statistic for Cape Reinga: Its annual rainfall barely reaches 1000mm, but March and April 1968 combined produced over 720mm, and nearly all of that would have fallen in the period 27 March - 9 April.

Offline JennyLeez

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2015, 10:15:43 PM »
Needless to say I was very very young when the Wahine sank :)
The east coast was also struck with strong winds bringing down power poles, roofs and chimneys.
Many building were badly damaged and condemned. The Gisborne Post Office was one of these, the clock tower fell down and cracks appeared through the concrete structure.
I remember live power lines down around our frontage. It was like Guy Fawkes outside but very scary for a youngster especially with no power inside and extremely dark.

Thank you Rupert for the above account. I had not realised how strong those winds were down Wellington way. Were you living down there then?

Now for our overseas members and anyone interested here is a couple of links. The first is a link to photos of the Wahine. The second is the time line over those 2 days which I found interesting reading. The worse of the storm in Gisborne was Tuesday night of the 9th.

Photos:
http://tinyurl.com/q9wrqmx

Timeline:
http://www.thewahine.co.nz/Time.html



« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 10:19:07 PM by JennyLeez »
Living in Wairoa, Northern Hawkes Bay
Website: wairoa.net/weather

Offline Rwood

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2015, 07:47:41 AM »
http://tinyurl.com/q9wrqmx[/url]

Timeline:
http://www.thewahine.co.nz/Time.html

I was overseas in the USA at university doing a graduate year (only stayed a year). The coverage was very scanty in their media and we relied on my parents to give us a quick update ... at first I thought the story was just about a cross-harbour ferry.

It's not generally known that strong winds were felt on the west of the Wellington region, not just in the city - gusts of up to 160kph as far north as about Ohakea.

Yet the southerly (it was actually just SW of SSW, not a usual direction for our strongest "southerly" winds) locally was not noticed immediately by some people living in properties sheltered from that direction - though noise should have been a giveaway - till they got to a less sheltered spot on the way to work/school ....
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 07:49:52 AM by Rwood »

Offline ato2

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2015, 12:20:25 PM »
I was driving around between Ohakea and Palmerston North, that day. Was very glad to have a great big Buick!
"Send more beer!"
[found in a report to HQ, from a Officer stationed in some outpost in Roman Britain]

Offline Martin4Jay

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2015, 08:13:58 PM »
I was a pain in the posterior at 8 years old  :D  8)
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Offline JennyLeez

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2015, 10:28:19 AM »
Ato2 did New Plymouth also cop the strong winds.

Does anyone else have memories over this period when the Wahine went down?

Offline ato2

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2015, 01:04:14 PM »
I was at uni in 1968, at Massey, in Palmerston North. The weather was very foul around that time and very windy, because I was driving around in it.
New Plymouth--- I will have to look up and see

Offline ato2

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2018, 02:21:31 PM »
My belated reply...no real drama- wind speeds reported to around 70 km/hr, not flooding etc. Looks like the centre of the storm passed by?

Offline Rwood

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2018, 03:59:15 PM »
I was at uni in 1968, at Massey, in Palmerston North. The weather was very foul around that time and very windy, because I was driving around in it.
New Plymouth--- I will have to look up and see
My belated reply...no real drama- wind speeds reported to around 70 km/hr, not flooding etc. Looks like the centre of the storm passed by?
[/quote]

You may have been more sheltered near Massey. From my recollection, coastal spots like Ohakea had much higher gusts to around 160kph. But for verification I would have to rediscover the library sources for that information - and they may no longer be there.

Offline ato2

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2018, 09:40:21 PM »
My belated reply...no real drama- wind speeds reported to around 70 km/hr, not flooding etc. Looks like the centre of the storm passed by?

You may have been more sheltered near Massey. From my recollection, coastal spots like Ohakea had much higher gusts to around 160kph. But for verification I would have to rediscover the library sources for that information - and they may no longer be there.
Ah- I confused the matter in my reply. I was meaning how it was in New Plymouth. I had a look at what NIWA's webite said.

Offline Rwood

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Re: NZ weather summary April 1968
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2018, 09:56:40 AM »


That makes more sense. The zone of very strong winds in the west probably didn't extend beyond Bulls or thereabouts.


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