Author Topic: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994  (Read 1067 times)

Offline Sheldybett

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New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« on: June 06, 2019, 06:48:33 PM »
Weather 1994
1994 was an extreme year for climate in New Zealand. It was the driest year ever in eastern Northland and Hawke's Bay, where in places records began last century. For most, 1994 was a very sunny year. It was not as cold as either 1992 or 1993.

The El Niño weather phenomenon, which waned over the summer of 1993–94, strengthened during autumn and then persist for the remainder of the year. Unlike 1992 and 1993, the El Niño was presented without the influence of volcanic aerosols from the Mt Pinatubo volcanic eruption. The El Niño pattern was one of the main reasons for 1994's climatic extremes.

Westerly and south-westerly airflows occurred with their highest frequency over New Zealand since measurements commenced in 1917. Anticyclones, which bring dry settled weather, occurred more often over south-east Australia and to the north of New Zealand. There were few moist north-easterly airflows, which bring higher rainfalls to northern and eastern regions.

Dry in north and east.
1994 was an exceptionally dry year for most northern and eastern regions of the North island, with record low rainfall (as low as 54 percent of average) in eastern Northland and Hawke's Bay. In these regions drier than usual weather occurred in most months. Some of the Hawke's Bay rainfall records span more than 100 years.

In contrast, rainfall was well below average (by up to 25 percent) in Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and the Kaikoura coast. Gisborne's total of 701 mm was the second lowest since records began in 1906.

Wet in far south.
It was much wetter than normal in the far south, where rainfall ranged between 125 and 165 percent of average. Queenstown's rainfall (1295 mm; 162 percent of average) was the second highest there since records began in 1872. Wetter conditions also prevailed in King Country and other areas in the west and south of the South Island, with totals over 110 percent of average.

Of the four main centres, Wellington was the wettest with 1,017 mm and Christchurch the driest with 657 mm. Auckland amassed 984 mm and Dunedin 864 mm. Milford Sound was the wettest township in New Zealand with 7,215 mm. Central Otago is usually the driest region, but for 1994 Napier was the driest town recording only 445 mm.

Cooler year.
The national average temperature for the year was 12.3°C (0.3°C below the long term average). However, this compared favourably with the particularly cold years of 1992 and 1993, with temperatures of 11.7°C and 11.9°C respectively.

Temperatures were cool in the south-west and King Country, and slightly above average in Bay of Plenty and along the Kaikoura coast. They were most below average (by 1°C) in Fiordland, with Northland, King Country, Tongariro, Westland, inland South Canterbury and Central Otago all 0.5°C below average. Temperatures were near average in most other regions.

The highest extreme temperature for the year was 35.8°C at Ruatoria on 20 January. Winter saw temperatures fall to -13.0°C at Rainbow Skifield (Nelson Lakes National Park) on 13 July, and again at the Top of the Bruce, Mt Ruapehu on 14 October.

Sunny year.
1994 was a sunny year in all areas, except the South Island's West Coast. It was extremely sunny in Auckland and in the east of both islands, including Wellington, where totals were at least 10 percent above average.

Blenheim was the sunniest centre recording 2,671 hours, followed by Nelson was 2,589 hours. Napier's 2,588 hours was the highest there since measurements began in 1930.

Significant weather events
Extremely high rainfall. The year began with Colliers Creek (in the Hokitika catchment area) measuring rainfall totalling 2,600 mm for the month. This was the second highest rainfall for New Zealand, for any month. The New Zealand record for a month stands at 2,747 mm.

The extraordinary high rainfall on the West Coast and in the Alps affected the Hermitage (Mt Cook), resulting in isolation due to flooded rivers. High rivers also flooded parts of Alexandra, causing the evacuation of a number of tourist camps. The rain contributed to a large rise in the water level of Lake Wakatipu flooding lake-side areas of Queenstown.

Severe hails storms. Golf ball size hail (up to 6 cm in diameter) occurred at Hinds (south of Ashburton) on 21 February, with marble size hails stones (up to 2.5 cm in diameter) later on the same day in Nelson.

Another severe hail storm struck Hawke's Bay orchards just before midday on 2 March, with hail stones the size of 20 cent pieces, producing extensive damage to apply and grape crops.

Floods. High rainfall over the night of 19 March (130 mm in 12 hours) brought severe surface flooding to Fairlie, south Canterbury, with widespread surface flooding also occurring as far south as Dunedin.

Prolonged dry period. A very extended period of well below average monthly rainfall persisted for the first six months of the year (from 1993) throughout Northland, Auckland, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, with water restrictions occurring in Auckland during June (which is typically a wet month). Unusually high July and September rainfall relieved Auckland's water crisis. However, Gisborne and especially Hawke's Bay did not receive about average rainfall for the remainder of the year, resulting in extreme fire risk during the hot weather that followed in December.

Unusually low temperatures. Unusually low air temperatures were recorded in Auckland after a clearance from a cold southerly outbreak on 30 June. Auckland city recorded a minimum air temperature of 1.1°C, the second lowest this century (-0.1 °C occurred in June 1951). Henderson had its lowest air temperature, -4.3°C, since records began in 1985.

Snowfall. Cold polar southerlies brought snow to sea level, in Southland, Otago and Canterbury, and to high country areas of the North Island during the first few days of July. Up to 15 cm of snow lay in high country districts, with snow and ice closing several South Island highways, including Arthur's Pass, as well as the North Island's Desert Road.

Snow fell to low levels over 7–8 September in Southland, Otago and the North island's Desert Road, with depths to 12 cm in some areas. At least 30,000 newborn lambs were lost during the cold snap. A few centimetres of snow even settled at Stratford, Taranaki; an extremely rare occurrence for the time of year.

Direst August in east. Rainfall totalled only 5 mm (8 percent of normal) at Lincoln during August, Lincoln's lowest rainfall for that month since records began in 1881. Kaikoura's rainfall was even lower, at 2 mm; the lowest since records began in 1949.

November rainfall. Extremes in November rainfall were recorded at: the Hermitage at Mt Cook, where 1,418 mm of rain was measured—the highest November fall since records began in 1928. Similarly, Milford Sound recorded its highest rainfall (1,360 mm) since their records began in 1930. In contrast, Kaikoura received only 4 mm during November, the second lowest rainfall since records began 45 years ago.

November winds. Westerly winds across New Zealand were the strongest in 45 years of record, bringing frequent gales to central and eastern regions. North-westerlies gusted to 91 knots (169 km/h) at Castlepoint on 21 December.

Heat wave. Extremely high temperatures were recorded in Canterbury during hot dry north westerly conditions during the afternoon of 7 December. The heat was so intense, that it caused railway tracks to buckle along the north Canterbury line. High temperatures continued the next day. New December records occurred at Timaru Airport (34.0°C), Oamaru (31.6°C) and Dunedin city (31.5°C).

Driest December in North and East. Rainfall totalled only 1 mm (1 percent of normal) in Napier and Hastings, 2 mm in Gisborne (2 percent of normal) and 3 mm in Motueka (4 percent of normal). These totals, and other December totals in Northland and Whakatane were the lowest since December records began.

New Zealand Official Yearbook 95
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 06:53:32 PM by Sheldybett »


Sheldybett

Offline Rwood

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 08:46:07 PM »
Rainfall records have been broken since by Cropp Waterfall for various time periods.

Offline Sheldybett

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 07:51:09 PM »
November was a wet month for the west and dry for the east especially Napier with recording only 15mm of rain during the month.

Offline KHartill

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2019, 10:27:31 PM »
Over the 1994-'95 summer two of my friends did an un-paralleled adventure from East cape of Nth island to West Cape, Fiordland. They started dec '94, hiked south along north island axial ranges, kayaked across cook strait, through harwoods hole, then romped along the southern alps climbing most of the major peaks.  At Mt Cook they broke records climbing all over multiple mountains each day, likewise at Aspiring and in the Darrens.

They finished by kayaking south from Milford right around Fiordland coast to Te waewae bay, living on fish.  Luckily they had the most settled anti-cyclonic summer in NZ history(!)... In my hands now I have the book "Arahura - Pathway to the Setting Sun" they published in 2000... full of images with monotonous blue skies the entire way.

Offline Rwood

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2019, 10:47:38 PM »
Luckily they had the most settled anti-cyclonic summer in NZ history(!)[/b]... In my hands now I have the book "Arahura - Pathway to the Setting Sun" they published in 2000... full of images with monotonous blue skies the entire way.


I don't think I'd go that far re settled summers - eg in the Kelburn record there are 6 summers with higher average MSLPs than that one.

Offline Sheldybett

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2019, 12:24:20 PM »
Over the 1994-'95 summer two of my friends did an un-paralleled adventure from East cape of Nth island to West Cape, Fiordland. They started dec '94, hiked south along north island axial ranges, kayaked across cook strait, through harwoods hole, then romped along the southern alps climbing most of the major peaks.  At Mt Cook they broke records climbing all over multiple mountains each day, likewise at Aspiring and in the Darrens.

They finished by kayaking south from Milford right around Fiordland coast to Te waewae bay, living on fish.  Luckily they had the most settled anti-cyclonic summer in NZ history(!)... In my hands now I have the book "Arahura - Pathway to the Setting Sun" they published in 2000... full of images with monotonous blue skies the entire way.


I don't think I'd go that far re settled summers - eg in the Kelburn record there are 6 summers with higher average MSLPs than that one.
[/quote]

Was it still manual at the time?

Here those anomalies.

Autumn 1994 -0.47

Winter 1994 -0.29

Spring 1994 -0.75

Summer 1994-5 -0.07

Autumn 1995 +0.57

Winter 1995 -0.58

Spring 1995 -0.41

Summer 1995-6 +0.51

Autumn 1996 -0.21

Some temperature for that period that can vary as the years progresses.

Offline Rwood

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2019, 04:12:06 PM »
Was what still manual? Talking about the MSLPs.

Offline Sheldybett

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2019, 04:40:14 PM »
probably the highest on record

Offline KHartill

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 11:01:49 PM »
I put the ! there, knowing I was hyperbolic.  Knew you guys would likely have the data... futile arguing against numbers.  It is still the most settled summer I can remember in the south island.  What years roughly for those high MSLP summers, surely not the westerly 1980s?  Earlier?

MSLP is not necessarily accurate reflection of reality, can get phases of intra-anticyclonic stratus.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 11:04:41 PM by KHartill »

Offline Rwood

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2019, 11:25:35 AM »


1927-8, 1962-3, 1955-6, 2014-5, 1970-1 (5 summers actually, not 6).


I don't like using MSLPs as a measure of the "goodness" of a month/season anyway. 1955-6 featured some very unstable stuff in the North Island in January, albeit with high temperatures. 1971 had a very dull January in eastern districts. The average MSLP at Wellington in the wet cloudy January 1956 was higher than in the very sunny January 1957 (see reports).


One of the highest mean MSLPs for NZ in April was in 1974 - but they were even higher to the east and there was a high prevalence of humid N/NE airflows. It was a very wet and cloudy month for a large area (record rainfall in Wellington) - refer the monthly report I posted.


Concerning 1994-5, there was a lot of placid weather, but some big downpours at the end of both January and February.



Offline KHartill

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 09:20:25 PM »
Very impressive!   

I looked through that East-West traverse book I mentioned in a bit more detail... they did have some trouble having to cross the flooded Landsborough river several times in Strutt bluff area around late Jan.


Offline Rwood

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Re: New Zealand Weather Summary for 1994
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2019, 07:36:37 AM »
January 1994 featured some very high rainfalls at and west of the divide - 2497mm at Cropp Waterfall.

As a PS - the highest 12-monthly mean 9am MSLP average at Kelburn was for Aug 1966 to July 1967 - 1017.5 hPa, over 5 above average - but temperatures were ordinary, ditto rainfall, and sunshine a bit below average. The lowest 12-monthly was for the El Nino-influenced June 1939 to May 1940 - rather cold, but drier and sunnier than average.


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