FLOODS | BLIZZARD NZ - August, 2004

COMMENT: TWM delivers on its promise. This is Flood #3 as announced earlier. Flood #4 on the way. (19.08.04) 

1. Auckland Millennium Celebration, 2000
2. From "Cold Showers" to "Cold Snaps", 2003
3. Summer, 2003-04
4. The Big Flood, Feb 2004
Bay of Plenty floods, July, 2004


Herald graphic

Snow hits South Island
NZ Herald 13.08.2004
Snow has unexpectedly hit the lower South Island. MetService had predicted high winds and some severe weather for Southland, south Otago and Fiordland, but forecaster Paul Mallinson said they did not anticipate snowfalls as low down as they have occurred. He said they have had reports of as much as seven centimetres down to 100 metres in the Catlins... He said winds and rain will settle in tomorrow and temperatures could drop again by the end of the weekend...
Storm's fury expected to unleash blizzards, gales and heavy rain


Otago and Southland are braced for the biggest snow dump of the winter tonight while many other regions will be lashed by gales, heavy rain and plummeting temperatures.
MetService weather spokesman Erick Brenstrum said today the rapidly deepening low heading for New Zealand was complicated, and likely to bring blizzard-like whiteout conditions with snow down to sea level. Gale-force winds in other areas would bring their own problems... Ahead of the front, severe northwesterly gales are expected to develop in parts of Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa by this evening, with gusts up to 140kmh. Up to 120mm of rain is also expected to fall over a 15 hour period on the West Coast, with up to 150mm in the Tararua ranges and about Mt Taranaki... The snow-bearing southerlies would hit the central North Island by late Sunday. MetService's warnings include snow on Arthur's Pass and Lewis Pass...
Icy blast heads north
NZ Herald
Icy winds battered the South Island yesterday with temperatures expected to plummet over much of the country by today. A "snowball of a low" moved on to the South Island over the weekend... The MetService forecast more snow in parts of the South Island today after light falls in Otago, Canterbury and Southland yesterday. After a brief respite, the low-pressure system was expected to deepen and stall between Wellington and the Chatham Islands tomorrow, bringing severe gales and heavy rain.The upper North Island should escape the worst of the weather but wet and windy conditions were forecast to spread on to southern and eastern parts of the North Island by today. Bands of showers and isolated thunderstorms are predicted for much of the North Island... Wellington had a taste of the bad weather yesterday, with gales and driving rain...Hundreds of passengers were stranded yesterday as flights into Christchurch Airport were cancelled because of sleet and snow. Some of Air New Zealand's Mt Cook flights were also cancelled...
Big chill maintains grip on country
NZ Herald16.08.2004
6.30pm - UPDATE
Up to 15cm of snow is expected to fall on parts of the North Island overnight as the big chill maintains its grip on the country and settles in for at least three more days. Metservice spokesman Bob McDavitt said the low pressure system stalled over the country would be reinforced over the next few days with more wind, snow and rain. Snow had been falling in the South Island for several days and the North Island was about to get its share... The Metservice said snow showers from Banks Peninsula to the Kaikoura Coast had eased but snow should be down near to sea level again tonight. In the North Island, the south and eastern areas and from the central plateau to south Taranaki were set to take the brunt of the big chill... Gale force winds were forecast to batter southeast North Island regions tomorrow.The Lynx fast ferry turned back to Picton today after conditions in Cook Strait became too rough...Meanwhile, blizzards isolated Dunedin today, blocking all major roads into the city and closing schools. Ice and heavy snow was reported on State Highway 1 from Invercargill to Dunedin. Severe and extreme avalanche warnings continued today at popular ski fields in the Southern Alps -- the scene of several avalanches last week...
Manawatu farmers still reeling from the big wet

Farmers in Manawatu are becoming increasingly despondent as - six months after February's floods - the province remains virtually one big bog.
August is proving to be wet, cold and completely normal, and feed supplies are shortening alarmingly as the effects of February's floods continue to bite. Increasing health problems with stock are aggravating the situation. Wet, cold weather is predicted for this week as well and one farm adviser says if current conditions continue, the farming situation in the Manawatu could become critical. With almost continual damp weather and no substantial dry periods since the February floods, on top of a lack of seasonal summer drying, the area's water table is now very high and saturated land is staying wet. Stephen Barr, a farm adviser with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said the situation is "fairly evenly balanced now" but there would be serious implications if the bad weather continues for the next couple of weeks...
Snowballs in the CBD and on the beach
NZ Herald
The blizzard that has now affected most of the country in some form is likely to hang around until Thursday, meaning more snow, high winds, chilly temperatures and heavy rain.
.. MetService Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt said there was still more to come as the low causing the wintry blast would probably "loop back" and deliver more snow and gales. Severe southerly gales can be expected from today along the East Coast of the country, from Banks Peninsula to the Mahia Peninsula. Snow is expected on the Desert Rd and some of the hills in the Waikato. Inland, areas as far north as Hawkes Bay can expect heavy rain...
Blizzard knocks planes, trains, ferries out of action
NZ Herald

Severe storms, with winds gusting up to 180km/h, continued to batter the lower North Island this morning. Wellington and the Wairarapa bore the brunt of the wild weather with no planes, trains, or ferries operating out of the capital. Cars also struggled in coastal areas as waves dumped seaweed and debris on roads. Farther north, heavy snow closed scores of roads cutting off some rural areas. Slips closed the Paraparaumu and Johnsonville Transmetro lines into Wellington and flights and ferries out of the capital were cancelled. The Wairarapa is also under siege with flood warnings in place on several rivers... Many central and lower North Island roads had closed because of snow or slips... Air New Zealand communications spokesman Mike Tod said 49 flights, involving an estimated 2000 passengers, had been affected up to 8am this morning... Part of the roof of the Koru Lounge had been blown off, partially flooding the interior... Two return Lynx sailing and two return Interisland Ferry sailings were suspended. The Fire Service was called out to "hundreds" of incidents overnight... Wellington City Council spokesman Richard McLean said there was "total transport chaos" around the region...

Storm brings lives to a chilly standstill

NZ Herald 18.08.2004
The icy storm gripping the country closed roads and schools again yesterday and huge swells in Cook Strait left hundreds of ferry passengers stranded in Picton and Wellington. Sailings were finally cancelled last night after the Picton harbourmaster closed the Tory Channel entrance to Picton. Swells in the strait were estimated as high as 8m... MetService forecaster Gerard Bellam said a storm of this severity at this time of year occurred about once every four or five years... Plenty of South Island school pupils stayed home again yesterday with driving conditions still treacherous over much of the region... The low, sitting just east of New Zealand, should drift further east by Friday allowing a high pressure to move onto the South Island.
Big chill continues as winter blasts SI
A fresh blast of cold south-westerly winds is expected to pile on the mid-winter misery across Canterbury and Marlborough today
. MetService forecaster Mads Naeraa said there would be little let-up in wet and windy conditions for Wellington, Marlborough and Canterbury, where the big chill had kept roads closed and boats battling rough seas... The low lying off the east coast of the North Island was expected to be accompanied by cold south-westerly winds today, which would bring persistent rain and snow falling overnight to 300m for Marlborough, and to sea level overnight in Canterbury, rising to 300m... In North Canterbury last night, farmers remained on tenterhooks as forecasters predicted conditions to worsen... Heavy rain in the central North Island also left some areas prone to landslips, with a slip shutting the Manawatu Gorge.

No end to midwinter misery
... Winds of 93km/h, well above gale force speed, were recorded at Beacon Hill above Seatoun and caused mayhem around Wellington. Gusts blew a big tree on to State Highway 2 at Lower Hutt near the Dowse Drive intersection just after 5pm, blocking a northbound lane for 30 minutes. Firefighters blocked off Willeston St in central Wellington an hour later for 30 minutes so an electrician could remove a sign that had been blown loose from a building. Police reported several signs, trees, branches and power lines being blown down.Trains between Wellington and Petone were stopped about 6.30pm after waves crashing on to tracks washed away ballast supporting the tracks...
South frees up as icy grip eases off Police urge motorists to exercise caution
The south emerged yesterday from a late-winter battering to shake off most of the snow and ice that had coated the lower South Island since Friday.
.. The ice that caused problems for motorists throughout the region on Monday was also missing from most areas yesterday, although grit was laid on some Northern Southland roads after ice formed in shaded sections... Children also returned to their classrooms yesterday... MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said conditions in Southland and Otago would improve as the week went on... The avalanche risk in Wanaka and Queenstown was high with caution advised on all steep slopes...
Havoc continues as storms rage on
Snow has blocked several roads from Kiwitea to the Pohangina Valley and through to Rangiwahia in the north, Manawatu District Council spokesman Bob Williams said this morning... About 70mm of rain has fallen on the lower half of the North Island and even if the Manawatu gets all of a 90mm dump predicated later today the situation will not be serious... Meanwhile, most roads in the south were open after Dunedin was virtually cut off yesterday... While conditions ease in the South Island, widespread road closures have hit much of the lower North Island, with worsening weather expected today... Just before 9am today, Air New Zealand said the number of cancelled flights there had risen to 61, affecting at least 3000 passengers. No flights were likely before 10.30am... The average speed for wind in Cook Strait was 130kmh, gusting up to 160kmh. The Wairarapa was being hit with winds average speeds of 100kmh, gusting up to 135kmh. Ms Grey said the winds were likely to continue with the same intensity for most of today, not easing until the evening...

Farmers under siege from storms
TVNZ Aug 18, 2004
Southern and central North Island farmers are under siege from snow storms and floods as they grapple with lambing and calving. Many are still recovering from the disastrous storms and floods of February. Heavy snow has cut off farms in the central and southern North Island hill country... A Wairarapa farmer says he expects Tuesday night's rain will have wiped out some of the repair work carried out after the February floods... Dairy farmer Bryan Weatherston says the weather has been as bad as the Wahine storm of 1968. He says high winds brought down trees, heavy rain caused surface flooding and some cows were waist deep in water... Meanwhile conditions are improving through the South Island after the hammering it has taken from snow storms and bitterly cold wind and rain since the  weekend. But the cold, wet conditions have stifled grass growth and the Otago Federated Farmers' president Grant Bradfield says that is the main worry for farmers heading into lambing over the next month...

Oh, no, here we go again Farmers in strife again
Last time it was just wet. This time it's cold and wet. And farmers are smack in the middle of calving.
The Manawatu River is having another go at them at Ruawhata, near Woodville and it couldn't have come at a worst time. One farmer has just cleared out his dairy shed and outbuildings ahead of the water for the second time in six months... The pressure of this busiest of seasons has just been cranked up another notch. Rauwhata Road resident Mike Hogg said this flood "is another nail . . . another straw on the camel's back." Half of Mr Hogg's farm is under water... He said everyone is feeling "very raw"... He said the farmers in the area are used to farming on a flood plain but the floods seem to be coming more often and with more water...
We were clobbered, but the foul weather's over
The grimly familiar scene of road closures, bridge washouts and water-logged properties continued overnight as foul weather once more clobbered the region.
But it looks like the worst is over. The MetService says fine spells are forecast for the weekend and the outlook is "pretty good". Horizons Regional Council operations group manager Allan Cook said staff monitored several hotspots... all damaged in the February flood.The flood waters were at their highest in 10 years and second only to February's flood level... In Tararua, homes were evacuated and about 400 children were sent home from school early...There are 48 roads closed in the Tararua district. Meanwhile the search goes on for missing Wairarapa mail delivery contractor Linda Warrington...


Struggle to save flooded homes
Felini Sulusi stood in her lounge and watched the flood lap the top step of the front porch... Like most houses in Thompson Grove, Porirua East, No 4 was surrounded by stormwater early in the morning, causing police to consider evacuating the entire street... Porirua City Council spokesman Roger Foley said the flooding resulted from a high tide in Porirua Harbour which left water cascading down Kenepuru Creek with nowhere to go... In Wellington, residents of four Waitaha Cove houses near Lyall Bay were some of many in southern and eastern suburbs who had to be evacuated because of flying roofing iron. Efforts to repair the damaged roofs were stymied by gale-force winds, leaving police and firefighters no option but to remove residents...
Students stay at home
Thousands of students sheltered at home as their schools suffered flooding, broken windows, and lifting roofs. Porirua College was closed because of severe flooding in a building that houses the school hall and several classrooms... Aotea College deputy principal John Huston said the school closed because gale-force winds caused flying debris and there were concerns for student safety... Power cuts led to closures at Onslow and Newlands colleges, and Raroa and Newlands intermediate schools, all in Wellington. Further north, schools in Taihape were closed for the second day running as roads in and out of the rural township were closed because of heavy snowfalls...

Cleaning up Mother Nature's chaos
.. Hutt City Council spokesman Kirk McGibbon said the Hutt office received more than 2000 calls yesterday. Initial estimates put storm damage at less than during February's floods, he said. The storm that hit Wellington this week is among the fiercest on record. Experts made comparisons with the Wahine storm of April 1968, which claimed 51 lives. Niwa scientist Jim Renwick said "it's certainly up there". Hurricane-force wind speeds of 180km/h were recorded at Mt Kaukau yesterday morning, and 150km/h was measured at ground level near Baring Head around midday, he said. Winds during the storm that led to the passenger ferry Wahine sinking had been up to 200km/h. But worse this time around was the length of time the gales had lasted, he said... The last time it has blown as long and hard as this was 30 to 40 years ago."... Wairarapa farmers, gradually recovering from the huge storms of February, are bracing for the cost of the latest battering... In north Wairarapa, Federated Farmers spokesman Jim Weston said stock were already under stress from a long bout of continual wet weather... Mr Weston said slips had undone repair work undertaken after the February floods.
Thousands stranded, airport in chaos, mail service cancelled

Tens of thousands of people were stranded in the lower North Island yesterday as transport was brought to a standstill by the atrocious weather.
.. Harbourmaster Mike Pryce compared conditions on the harbour to the stormy seas experienced on Waitangi Day, 2002... Interisland spokesman Peter Monk said most ferry passengers had rebooked for the weekend, but there remained a huge backlog of freight waiting to move between north and south. Up to 9000 air travellers had their flights cancelled in one of the worst wind-related disruptions at Wellington International Airport in recent years... Airport terminal services manager John Fuller said several planes flying in from overseas yesterday abandoned their attempts to land... Mail deliveries were halted as the blizzard battered Wellington...
Hundreds lose power
Power stoppages that struck pockets of Wellington compounded difficulties for thousands of residents reeling from freak storm damage. United Networks said hundreds of people throughout Wellington were without power, mostly because of clashing lines and trees fallen across them. United Networks communications manager Charlene White said trees falling on power lines prompted the first calls from cut-off customers at 2am, with a peak of 1500 customers without power in pockets throughout the region at 3.30am. By about 8am, 700 customers were still without power, including 400 in Johnsonville, 177 in Petone and pockets in Karori and Plimmerton. Ms White said the winds made it too dangerous for line crews to respond to many of the calls till daylight.
Landslides crash into Hutt houses
Rock, mud and trees have slammed into two homes in the seaside Lower Hutt suburb of Days Bay... when a 30-metre-high bank gave way. A house at the top of the slip and neighbouring properties were also threatened and their occupants evacuated... The neighbour's house was hit by a bigger slip in the afternoon and, with more of the hill threatening to come down, the Le Page family at 3 Ferry Rd was also moved out. Houses in neighbouring suburb Sorrento Bay were evacuated after a slip shunted one off its foundations. A house was also evacuated in Grounsell Cres, Belmont, in Lower Hutt's western hills. Houses in Riverside Drive, Waiwhetu, some recently re-occupied after February's floods, were evacuated as the Waiwhetu Stream rose...
Storm brings capital to halt
A storm of near Wahine proportions has brought the lower North Island to a virtual standstill.
One of the worst storms in 40 years with winds of up to 180km/h and heavy rain battered the Wellington region, Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast for much of yesterday, ripping up trees, pulling roofs off houses, smashing windows and sending power lines crashing to the ground. Rural Wairarapa postie, Erlinda Warrington, 46, has been missing since leaving for work about 5.30am yesterday... The storm stranded tens of thousands of commuters and travellers with planes, ferries and trains brought to a halt by the atrocious weather. At Wellington International Airport, massive southerly wind gusts stripped the roof off Air New Zealand's Koru Club lounge and cladding from the walls of a hangar. About 9000 domestic and international passengers were affected by the cancellation of about 140 flights. Swells of up to 14.4 metres in Cook Strait stopped all ferry sailings...
Rural recovery centre reactivated
TVNZ Aug 19, 2004
Federated Farmers has had to activate its Palmerston North rural recovery centre for the second time in six months as a result of the latest flooding and snow storms in the southern and central North Island... The main impact from the most recent flooding has been on dairy farms in the Tararua district and in southern Wairarapa... Federated Farmers' Manawatu-Rangitikei president, Shelley Dew-Hopkins, says while the situation is not as severe as the February storms, it is extremely distressing for farmers still recovering from those events...
Twenty houses unlivable after storm
At least 20 houses have been left uninhabitable in the wake of the big storm that hit the lower North Island this week. Damage to council-owned infrastructure in the region could run into millions of dollars... Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said most of the damage to the city was caused by wind and was not as bad as that caused by February's storms... A massive cleanup by council staff, contractors and Government road builder Transit New Zealand meant virtually all roads were open yesterday... Farmers throughout the region have reported heavy stock losses... Insurance Council chief executive Chris Ryan said up to 30 assessors had been relocated or returned to Wellington. "It's fair to say weather is quite a big issue for us this year."...
Massive job to replace broken power poles after storm
NZ Herald 20.08.2004
The northern Manawatu hills will be alive with the sound of helicopter rotors today as new power poles are ferried in to replace more than 30 snapped in Wednesday's killer storm... Today, all efforts would be made to restore power to those struggling without it since early on Wednesday. About 2200 customers were without electricity in the Feilding and Taihape regions after a power pylon toppled over in floodwaters. A spokesman for Powerco, Jonathan Hill, said workers would be installing poles and lines in the Taihape hill country where about 1000 people have been without electricity...
Snow and ice hit south again

NZ Herald 24.08.2004
Winter is keeping a firm grip on the South Island as snow isolates Dunedin for the second time in a week and restricts travel around the lower part of the country. Schools were closed and... many central Dunedin businesses chose to close. Couriers and buses were still not running in the city yesterday afternoon... Snow was predicted for the Port Hills in Christchurch last night... Strong winds buffeted the city for most of the day.
The cold moved slowly up the country towards Wellington yesterday, the wind chill factor keeping temperatures very low... Powerco's central and lower North Island networks were hit by heavy snow and severe winds in the storm... The MetService says cold southerlies, showers and icy temperatures will continue in the South Island for most of the week.
Harsh winter hits farmers' wallets
NZ Herald 27.08.2004
Up to 90 per cent of farmers in some regions are blowing out their overdrafts as they struggle to get through a harsh winter, says a rural banker. Multiple frosts and high rainfall have cut grass growth and damaged pasture. Farmers are rationing feed and bringing it in until spring growth starts. In the south, where two snowfalls in a week have left farmers with sodden paddocks and cold temperatures, farmers are concerned that spring conditions are still weeks away. And in the North Island... along with reduced milk income, Waikato farmers faced buying in feed and increased animal health costs...

Snow to sea level expected

STUFF 27 August 2004

Snow may create havoc for Canterbury today as the MetService predicts falls to sea level. Motorists are being warned to take extreme care on alpine passes and conditions on the Port Hills are expected to be slippery... Kaikoura can also expect snow to sea level. MetService forecaster Steve Ready said cold air from the sub-antarctic was to blame for the latest icy blast.The southerly chill would hang around for the weekend with temperatures expected to start rising by Monday.
Wellington weathers the storm
Aug 28, 2004
Hail showers and high seas have caused delays for ferry passengers and motorists in the Wellington region. Two sailings of the Lynx fast ferry between Picton and Wellington were cancelled because of 4-metre swells in Cook Strait... The Metservice says the showers and cold temperatures should continue for most of Saturday but the hail will ease...

Police urge caution as poor weather continues
Police are warning motorists across much of New Zealand to drive carefully today as a cold southerly front continues to bring snow and ice to many parts of the country.
Snow continued to fall overnight on Rimutaka Hill, north of Wellington, and on the Desert Rd section of State Highway One between Waiouru and Rangipo, and would continue today, a MetService spokesman said... Southerly storms have created havoc in the past week, with snow and slips closing roads around the country. Yesterday SH2, just north of Wellington, was closed for much of the day due to a slip... MetService forecaster Mark Pascoe told NZPA southerlies would clear in the south today, but could be replaced by gale force northerlies by tomorrow. The front would spread to the North Island by Wednesday, but by late Wednesday another could hit the country...
Floods tipped for south - Auer. A `wetter kind of summer' predicted  THURSDAY, 02 SEPTEMBER 2004
Flood conditions could dog Southland this summer as weather signs pointed to an El Nino weather pattern developing, weather scientist Augie Auer said yesterday.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see a possibly heavy (rainfall) event. I'm saying I think the conditions would be favourable for such an event to occur (in Southland) in December," he said, speaking from his Auckland home. The former TV3 weatherman referred to the 1984 floods in Southland and said he was investigating the possibility of a 20-year weather cycle unfolding...
COMMENT: First it was PM Helen. Then the Environment Ministry CEO.
Now, everyone's climbing on the bandwagon. TWM will just have to accept that it has created a new trend in weather prediction. The old model | paradigm is obviously not working for forecasters.
Floods and terrorism spark insurance review
NZ Herald 07.09.2004
Recent floods and the threat of terrorism have sparked a review of the Earthquake Commission's role and the position of people with no insurance. Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today the move was a reaction to the Government's consideration of flooding in the North Island. It comes as it was announced Bay of Plenty councils are being given $3 million to help them put aside rates for businesses recovering from the July floods. The Earthquake Commission (EQC) review will focus on disaster management and whether the commission's insurance coverage is appropriate or should be extended...
Minister to push for flood aid extension
NZ Herald 09.09.2004
The past winter has been so damaging to farms throughout the lower North Island that Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton will ask the Cabinet to extend the February floods aid package. Wairarapa farmers, who were hit by bad flooding last month, have been told the Government is considering including them in the aid programme for farmers hit by the lower North Island floods in February. The storm last month brought snow and rain to already saturated Wanganui, Rangitikei and Manawatu hill country... Lower North Island rural recovery co-ordinator Shelley Dew-Hopkins said many farmers were stretched financially and psychologically battered. "It's been an awful winter," she told the Dominion Post...
COMMENT: Summer wasn't that great either.
Farmers counting lambing losses after cold snap
NZ Herald 20.09.2004
Farmers in Southland and Otago were today starting to count their losses after the weekend's cold snap killed thousands of newborn lambs. Cold sleety weather on Saturday and Sunday had brought about some losses, said Grant Bradfield, of Otago Federated farmers...
Lambing OK if no more bad weather
NZ Herald 21.09.2004
Farmers in the south of the South Island are hoping a blast of cold weather at the weekend will be the only chill snap during this year's lambing... Yesterday Slink Skins Ltd manager Ray Watson said he expected to have up to 100 staff busy collecting the lambs lost to the weekend storm. He estimated lamb losses in areas such as central and northern Southland, south and west Otago could have been as high as 40 per cent, with snow and chilling wind doing much of the damage. But the setback had been nothing compared with atrocious spring weather that hammered southern farmers two years ago, when more than 500,000 dead newborn lambs were collected around the region.
Ruinous lamb toll rising
NZ Herald 24.09.2004
Cold winds accompanied by showers across the south of the country yesterday added to the difficulties of farmers facing mounting lamb losses. Otago and Southland's lambing season is expected to be one of the worst on record, with the death toll of newborns in the snow-bound south expected to pass 500,000 by this morning...
MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said he did not expect a repeat of the cold snap that hit southerly areas last weekend when cold air was dragged on to the south of the country.
Lamb toll tipped at 500,000

Some farmers in Southland-Otago were having their worst lambing in living memory, Federated Farmers Southland president Don Nicholson said yesterday. Lamb losses in Southland alone were estimated at 200,000 and across both regions it was possible the death tally might reach 500,000 lambs. While deaths at lambing time were always expected, the huge numbers caused by the wintry weather of the past six days had some farmers pretty stressed, Mr Nicholson said...The full economic impact of the lamb deaths might not be confirmed for some weeks but they represented about $14 million in lost income for Southland farmers and about $16 million in Otago... The south had endured similar storms in past lambing seasons but the trouble this year was that there was no let-up from the rain and wind in between. The news on the weather front for the next few days is no better either. Forecasters are predicting showers throughout Otago and Southland today and most of the weekend, with more rain expected into early next week, too.
Climate Summary for Winter 2004
Sunday, 12 September 2004 [Abridged]
For many, winter began with a very mild June, followed by a colder frosty July and then a cold August. June was the 5thwarmest on record, and the July-August national average temperature of 7.6°C (0.8°C below normal) was the lowest since 1986. Record winter sunshine occurred in parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Tekapo. The season was sunnier than average throughout much of the north and west of the North Island, and the south and east of the South Island. Winter rainfall was above average for the season in Bay of Plenty (after the severe flood producing event in July), Gisborne, and Fiordland, and below average in Northland and along the Kaikoura Coast. Winter’s climate was dominated by more frequent northwesterlies in June, anticyclones (“highs”) in July, and extended periods of very cold southerlies in August, producing an overall pattern of stronger westerly airflow, at times, over the country.


  • Significant weather events during the winter included at least three heavy hailstorms, a destructive tornado resulting in the death a woman and child in Taranaki, four damaging wind events, including the worst southerly storm to affect Wellington in over a decade on 17-18 August, at least three high rainfall-flood producing events, the worst being in eastern Bay of Plenty from 15-18 July, resulting in a state of emergency, with about 2000 people evacuated from their homes. Several periods of snowfall affecting motorists occurred on high-country roads during the winter, especially in the later half of August, with snowfall to near sea level from Southland to Canterbury on 15 August and again for several days from 22 August including sleet and hail in the south and east of the North Island.



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Last modified: 19 August 2004