New Zealand Climate in February 2002

A month of contrasts

It was dry, warm, and sunny on the South Island’s west coast, while eastern South Island regions experienced cool, cloudy conditions. The lower North Island was wet, while much of the upper half was drier than normal.

Patchy rainfall

Some parts of the lower North Island, including Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay, had double their normal rainfall. An isolated extreme rainfall event on 21 February brought more than three times normal February rainfall to Great Barrier Island. Above average rainfall also occurred in Coromandel, central Hawke’s Bay, the central North Island volcanic plateau, north Canterbury, and coastal Southland.

In contrast rainfall was less than half normal in Waikato, western Bay of Plenty, Taupo, and parts of Northland and Central Otago. Rainfall was down 25% from normal in Auckland, eastern Bay of Plenty, south Westland, and Fiordland.

Warm West Coast

Mean temperatures were about 1.0 °C above normal on the West Coast, but at least 1.0 °C below normal in many other regions. In the east from Gisborne to Canterbury they were at least 1.5 °C, and up to 3.5 °C, below average. Mean temperatures were near average in the southern lakes region and Southland.

Sunshine was above average in Westland and Southland. Lower than normal sunshine hours were recorded in eastern regions from Gisborne to Canterbury, including Wellington.

Percentage of average rainfall for February 2002 (recording sites shown with dots). Click to enlarge.

Difference from the average air temperature in degrees Celsius for February 2002. Click to enlarge.