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Author Topic: NZ weather summary March 1979  (Read 2391 times)

Offline Rwood

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NZ weather summary March 1979
« on: February 17, 2012, 07:20:58 AM »
March 1979:   An unusually wet month with a high frequency of cyclonic disturbances in the Tasman Sea. Easterly airstreams occurring on nearly half the days of the month affected all parts of the country. Pressures were lower than normal in the North Island and higher to the southeast of the country. In many parts of New Zealand March rainfall records were broken and sunshine totals were very low. Most farmers found the conditions very good for grass growth. Local flooding in Bay of Plenty and Canterbury affected some farmers and conditions for crops were bad, delaying harvesting. The wet, dull weather adversely affected stock.

Rainfall: Most of the North Island had monthly totals above normal. At some stations in Bay of Plenty, central Hawkes Bay, and the western Wairarapa, totals were 500% of average. Northland, Taupo, Wellington and many parts of the east coast had up to 300% of normal. In the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast had between 5 and 7 times the normal March rainfall. In Canterbury totals were up to 400% of average and on the West Coast between Haast and Hokitika up to 300%. Only in Southland, Fiordland and the northwest of the South Island was there less rain than usual.

A notable fall of rain on the West Coast occurred on the 6th. Franz Josef had 505mm, with some severe flooding. The monthly total of 1260mm was also a record for March. There were high rainfalls in the Bay of Plenty on the 9th-10th and in Northland on the 11th. On the 19th, the Bay of Plenty again had heavy rain with flooding and landslips. Te Puke had 293mm and Tauranga Airport 178mm. Monthly totals at these stations were 795mm and 504mm respectively, new March records, along with the one-day falls. During the 20th-22nd the heavy rain spread to the east coasts of the North and South Islands. Flooding occurred in Christchurch on the 21st, with further flooding in the Bay of Plenty of the 22nd. On the 29th and 30th a severe southerly storm brought heavy rain to central New Zealand.

[Remarkably, Kaikoura had almost as much rain (384mm) in March 1980 as in 1979 (396mm), the average being 53.]

100mm rainfall at Puysegur Point, 22mm at Balclutha.

Temperatures: Daily minima were above average over the whole country, by over 3C in Hamilton, Whakatane and Rotorua. Mean maximum temperatures were also above average by 2C in some North Island places, but were lower than usual on the east coast of the South Island. These departures generally resulted in mean temperatures about 2C above normal.

30.4C maximum at Waiau and Waipara on the 9th.

Sunshine: No stations in New Zealand had more sunshine than usual. In the North Island most had 60-70% of normal, many of these totals being record March lows. In the South Island, durations were even smaller with 50-60% being most frequent. At Highbank, near Methven, only 43% of average was recorded, 35 below the previous lowest and almost 100 hours below normal. At Queenstown and Invercargill more than 80% of normal was recorded.

[Some totals: Kaitaia 129, Waitangi 132, Thames 117, Tauranga 135, Whakatane 145, Rotorua 123, Taupo 111, Auckland Aero 143, Hamilton 128, New Plymouth 148, Masterton 121, Gisborne 150, Napier 140, Palmerston North 110, Levin 106, Wellington 124, Stratford 112, Wanganui 106, Westport 73, Hokitika 91, Greymouth 73, Riwaka 112, Nelson 126, Blenheim 149, Kaikoura 114, Mt Cook 68, Methven 76, Christchurch 80, Tekapo 96, Timaru 59, Oamaru Aero 75, Omarama 94, Dunedin 83, Te Anau 125, Queenstown 143, Alexandra 146, Invecargill 128.]


Sources: NZ Met. Misc. pub. 107 (Climatological table, NZ Gazette) and NZ Met. Misc. pub. 109 (Meteorological Observations).





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