Fickle weather dries up records

The beachfront at Point Wells was inundated at high tide during the early New Year storm, but otherwise the district escaped relatively unscathed.

The driest December in Warkworth since the year 2000 kept the annual rainfall count from setting records last year. Instead, Warkworth experienced its fifth wettest year since 2000.

Just 22 millimetres of rain fell in December. The previous low was set in 2016 at 30.5 millimetres – both figures well below the average of 114 millimetres since 2000.

The earlier part of the year had 2017 on track for setting a rainfall record, with both March and April experiencing the biggest highs in Warkworth since 2000.

April was particularly wet with 324.5 millimetres falling, a large jump from the previous high of 220 millimetres recorded in 2008. NIWA attributes these increased totals to Cyclone Debbie and Cyclone Cook.

By the end of September, rainfall had exceeded the average annual total in Warkworth by 124 millimetres.

The six main centres in New Zealand followed a similar pattern, according to NIWA. They also missed out on annual records for rainfall due to a dry end-of-year.

Christchurch was struck by a particularly dry November with only one millimetre – an all-time record. It also witnessed a 47-day dry streak that ended in December.

Oamaru faced the biggest rainfall extremes last year with its second wettest year on record since 1950.

Although 163 millimetres of rain fell in Oamaru from August to December, it experienced a one day all-time high of 161 millimetres on July 21.

Clyde had the lowest annual total rainfall with just 278 millimetres.

Castle Mount, in Milford, had the highest one day rainfall total recording 316 millimetres on September 24.

The fifth hottest year for NZ saw the annual high set at 35.5C at Wairoa. The lowest was -14.6C at Lake Tekapo.

The wider Nelson region experienced the most sun with 2663 hours.

The wind speed through Cape Turnagain, on the North Island’s lower east coast reached a national high of 198km/h on June 13. During the year, 11 of New Zealand’s 16 geographical regions experienced drought.


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