Climate Summary for April 2010

North Island continues dry, sopping wet in southwest.

  • Rainfall: Continued dry across much of the North Island, Marlborough, and Canterbury.  Extraordinarily wet in the southwest of the South Island.
  • Soil moisture:  Significant deficits continue in many areas of the North Island, as well as Marlborough and Canterbury, even after helpful rain at the end of April.
  • Temperature:  Very warm in many regions of the South Island, as well as eastern Northland and Auckland, Coromandel and the Wairarapa. Near average temperatures elsewhere.
  • Sunshine: Extremely sunny for the east coast of the North Island and Northland.  Very cloudy in the west and south of the South Island. 

More frequent anticyclones (‘highs’) were located over and to the east of the North Island during April, resulting in a very dry month for much of the North Island and upper South Island. Drought was declared for Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, South Taranaki, South Canterbury and Otago in April, joining Northland which was declared a drought area in January. Even after some helpful rainfall at the end of the month, significant soil moisture deficits remain in many areas of the North Island (except for Taranaki, Gisborne, and the Kapiti Coast), as well as in Marlborough and Canterbury.  In contrast, enhanced northwest winds affected the South Island, producing extraordinarily high rainfall in the southwest of the South Island.

Well below normal April rainfall (less than 50 percent of normal) occurred across most of the North Island, as well as in Nelson, Marlborough and north Canterbury.  Areas that received slightly more substantial rainfalls (between 50 and 80 percent of normal) included Taranaki, Gisborne, the Kapiti Coast, and south Canterbury. In comparison, it was an extraordinarily wet April in Fiordland, south Westland and parts of Southland, with more than double normal rainfall experienced there.  Rainfall was also above normal (more than 120 percent of usual) in Otago, but near normal in north Westland and Buller.

It was an extremely warm April for much of the South Island, the Wairarapa, eastern Northland and eastern Auckland, with temperatures more than 1.2°C above average.  In contrast, April temperatures were near average across the remainder of the North Island (within 0.5°C of the long-term average), as well as in Buller.  The New Zealand national average temperature was 14.2°C (+0.8°C above the long-term April average).

April was an extremely sunny month for the eastern North Island and Northland, with totals above 125 percent of normal. It was also rather sunny (between 110 and 125 percent of normal) in the Central Plateau, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Marlborough and Canterbury.  It was a cloudy month for the West Coast, Southland and Otago, with below average sunshine (between 75 and 90 percent of normal). 

Further Highlights

  • The highest April temperature was 28.6°C, recorded at Darfield on the 1st.
  • The lowest April temperature was -3.1 °C, recorded at both Turangi and Hanmer on the 8th.
  • The highest April 1-day rainfall was 314 mm, recorded at Milford Sound on the 25th (the 2nd- highest daily value for April at this site).
  • The highest wind gust was 152 km/hr, recorded at Cape Turnagain on the 15th.
  • Of the six main centres, Auckland and Tauranga were equally the warmest, Dunedin was the coolest, Christchurch was the driest, Auckland the wettest, and Tauranga the sunniest.

Full report

Full details of the April 2010 Climate Summary

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for PDF File April 2010

For further information, please contact:

Ms Georgina Griffiths – Climate Scientist– NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland, Tel. (09) 375 4506 (work) or (027) 2936545 (mobile); or

Dr Andrew Tait – Climate Scientist – NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington, Tel.  (04) 386 0562 (work) or (027) 327 7948 (mobile)

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