New Zealand Climate

Wet in the north; dry in the south

Rainfall in northern and eastern North Island regions was well above normal, with Napier recording more than double its July average. Flooding occurred at Te Awamutu on 5 July, Te Kuiti and Mangakino on 8 July, Kaukapakapa on 11 July, and Mercer on 12 July when the Waikato River flooded farmland already saturated by weeks of wet weather. Snow on 15 July closed central North Island roads.

In contrast, it was dry over much of the South Island, particularly Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Central Otago, with many places having less than a quarter their average rain. Lauder and Motueka equalled their lowest rainfall since records began at those sites, with just 1 mm in the case of Lauder.

Mild in North and upper South Island

July was mild, with fewer frosts than usual throughout much of the North Island and northern South Island. There were frequent cloudy nights which kept overnight temperatures much higher than usual. Mean temperatures in these areas were 0.5 to 1.5 °C above normal. Elsewhere, temperatures were near average, with the national average mean temperature at 8.0 °C, which was 0.3 °C above normal.

More sun in Southland

Sunshine and solar radiation were well above average in coastal Southland, and it was sunnier than normal in Otago, Buller, and Westland.

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

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