October 2004

Rainfall: Well below average in South Westland, Fiordland and the Kaikoura Coast; well above average rainfall in parts of Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa

Temperatures: Near or above average temperatures in the North Island, near or below average temperatures in much of the South Island

Sunshine: Near or records highs in coastal Otago and Southland, near or record lows in the southwest of the North Island

Rainfall was well below average in south Westland, Fiordland, along the Kaikoura Coast, in Banks Peninsula, and parts of inland South Canterbury. Significant soil moisture deficits now exist in coastal Marlborough. In contrast, rainfall was well above average in parts of Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa. Temperatures were above average in coastal Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wanganui, and Nelson, but below average in much of Canterbury and coastal Otago. The national average of 12.1°C was close to average. Sunshine hours were much above average in coastal Otago and Southland, and well below average in the southwest of the North Island. Depressions (‘lows’) were more frequent to the southeast of Chatham Islands with troughs of low pressure from time to time over the North Island. Anticyclones were often centred in the south Tasman Sea. This pattern produced more southerly airflow over the South Island.

Highlights

  • The highest October 2004 temperature was 29.0°C, recorded at Nelson Park, Napier on the 29th. This was Napier’s highest October temperature since 31.3°C (their record) in 1961, and 3rd highest since measurements commenced in 1868. The lowest temperature for the month was -5.7°C, recorded at Waiouru on the 3rd, the 3rd lowest there in October (records commenced in 1966).
  • A tornado was seen forming between Carterton and Masterton during the late afternoon on the 17th, and thunderstorms with hailstones "the size of peas" affected Carterton about the same time. Hail also struck several Hawke’s Bay orchards at about 3am on the 18th resulting in damage to apples and stonefruit, one orchardist noting that it was "the worst he had seen". Thunderstorms also produced high intensity rainfall in Napier, where up to forty people were evacuated, many cars stranded, phones out, and about 300 houses were without electricity, and nine schools were closed.
  • Of the four main centres Dunedin was the sunniest and Christchurch the driest. Rainfall was below average in Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, but near average in Auckland. Temperatures were near average in Auckland and Wellington, but below average in the other two main centres. Sunshine hours were record high in Dunedin, near average in Christchurch, and below average in Auckland and Wellington.

Rainfall

Rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of average in south Westland, Fiordland, along the Kaikoura Coast, in Banks Peninsula, and parts of inland South Canterbury. Rainfall was also below average in Southland. In contrast, rainfall was about 200 percent (twice) of average in parts of Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa and also above average, in parts of Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, King Country, Taupo, Manawatu, central Marlborough, and north and Central Otago.

Temperature

Mean temperatures were above average in coastal Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wanganui, and Nelson, but below average in much of Canterbury and coastal Otago. The national average of 12.1°C was 0.1°C below average.

Sunshine

Sunshine hours were much above average in coastal Otago and Southland, well below average from south Taranaki to Kapiti, and near average in most other regions.

Full report

Full details of October 2004 summary.

For further information, please contact:

Dr Jim Salinger – Principal Scientist, Climate
NIWA National Climate Centre – Auckland
Phone +64 9 375 2053
[email protected]

Stuart Burgess – Climatologist
NIWA National Climate Centre – Wellington
Phone +64 4 386 0569
[email protected]

Geoff Baird – Communications Manager
Phone +64 4 386 0543
[email protected]

Acknowledgement of NIWA as the source is required.