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Climate Summary for July 2009

The cold continued.

  • Temperature: Below average temperatures over much of the country, except for near average temperatures in the southwest of the South Island, and the north of the North Island.
  • Rainfall:  Well above normal rainfall in the far south; very dry in Taranaki, the Kapiti Coast, Wellington, southern Wairarapa, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.  Near normal elsewhere.
  • Sunshine: Well above average sunshine totals across the northern South Island; gloomy in and around the Capital (Wellington, the Kapiti Coast and the southern Wairarapa).

It was the third month in a row with below average temperatures over much of the country – although the cold temperatures in July were not as unusual as those in May or June. Well below average temperatures for July (between 1.2 and 2.0 °C lower than normal) were recorded in North Otago, alpine areas of Canterbury and Westland, and Waiouru. Most other regions around the country experienced below average July temperatures (between 0.5 and 1.0 °C lower than normal), except for near average temperatures at either end of the country (in the southwest of the South Island and the north of the North Island). The national average temperature of 7.3°C was 0.4°C below the long-term average for July.

July 2009 was a sunny month across much of the South Island, and in the north of the North Island.  July sunshine totals were well above average (greater than 125 percent of normal) around the Kaipara and Manukau Harbours, and in Nelson, Marlborough, Buller, and parts of Canterbury and Otago.  In contrast, well below normal July sunshine totals (less than 75 percent of normal) were recorded in Wellington, the Kapiti Coast, and the southern Wairarapa. 

Well above normal rainfall for July (about 150 percent of normal) occurred in Southland, Stewart Island, and parts of Fiordland, Westland and Buller.  Well below normal July rainfalls (less than 50 percent of normal) were recorded in Taranaki, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, southern Wairarapa, Marlborough, and parts of Canterbury and North Otago.  Elsewhere, over the majority of the country, July rainfall was near normal.

There were several extreme events during July. Seven snow/ice events occurred during the month.  A tornado struck Kaitaia on the 4th, damaging homes; a second was reported just north of Cromwell on the 21st.  Fog brought Christchurch Airport to a standstill on the 18th.  Severe winds affected Northland on the 11th and 18th; on the 23rd, high winds affected Wellington and much of the east coast of the North Island.  Heavy rain affected Northland on the 13th, and Wellington, the Wairarapa and Greymouth on the 23rd and 24th.  This latter event was significant, causing road and rail closures, slips and flooding in these areas.      

During July 2009, there was a transition towards more southwesterly winds across New Zealand.  Lower than normal pressures continued east of the country.

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature during July 2009 was 20.8 °C recorded at Rangiora on the 31st.  The lowest temperature was recorded at Middlemarch, with a minimum temperature of -11.7 °C on the 19th. 
  • The highest 1-day rainfall total for July was 125 mm, recorded at Milford Sound on the 30th.
  • The highest wind gust for July was 182 km/hr recorded at Cape Turnagain on the 19th. 
  • Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest and sunniest of the main centres, Tauranga was the wettest, and Christchurch was the coldest and driest.  

Full report

Full details of the July 2009 Climate Summary

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for July 2009


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)