So far, so stormy

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Today’s low came spinning off the coast of Hawke’s Bay funneling strong winds through the Cook Strait and hitting Wellington region with strong winds before moving on to Taranaki and Auckland this afternoon.

Maximum observed wind gusts around Wellington 12 July 2017 [Image: NIWA]

NIWA climate scientist Nava Fedaeff has compiled this report of what’s happened so far weather-wise:

  • At Baring Head sustained 10 minute winds of 135.7 km were recorded between 8:40am and 8:50am—this is comparable to a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone.
  • During that time at Baring Head the maximum wind gust recorded was 155.9 km/h. This was the 16th highest daily wind gusts recorded at this location since the station opened in 1991. 
  • The highest wind gust recorded at Baring Head was on the 12th of March 2010 when a gust of 216.8 km/h was recorded. On this day a strong southerly moved through and not unlike this event, caused widespread disruption including power outages, suspended rail services and damage. Insurance claims for that storm totaled $1.2million dollars.
  • At Greta Point in Wellington a wind gust of 120.2 km/h was measured just after 7am today. This was the strongest wind gust since January 1.
  • The calm before the storm: This storm comes following prolonged and unusually calm conditions in Wellington. During June there were just 6 days where winds gusts exceeded 33 knots (or 61.1 km/h) at Wellington Airport. The average for June is 13.7 days. Those stats put this June in third place for the LEAST windiest on record since records began in 1960. During July only 1 day exceeded this threshold up until Tuesday when the winds arrived!
  • The NIWA wave buoy near Baring Head was consistently recording a significant wave height (highest 1/3 of waves)  of more than six metres between 5am and 8am. Observed maximum wave heights were in the 10m range.

What’s to come? 

Tomorrow strong southerly winds continue across the North Island but not of the same magnitude as today.

Maximum wind gusts for Wellington and Taranaki will be more in the 70-80km/h range—down from more than 110km/h.

Rain will continue across the lower North Island and Hawke's Bay tomorrow. Heavy rain will move from Wellington to Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay throughout the day before clearing offshore. 

The weather clears in time for Saturday and the sun comes out. On Sunday a front will bring rain to the West Coast while the remainder of the country will continue to enjoy calm and settled weather.

Contact

Nava Fedaeff, NIWA climate scientist
Tel 09 375 6337

Related information

    Research subject: ClimateWind