Tauranga sunniest centre as April goes to extremes

By Kiri Gillespie

Tauranga might have soaked up nearly two-and-a-half-times its normal rainfall for April but the city was still the sunniest and warmest of New Zealand's main centres in a summary of a month of extremes.

In a Niwa monthly climate summary released yesterday, Tauranga was listed as the wettest, warmest and sunniest city, compared to Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The summary stated April was characterised by lower pressures than usual over New Zealand, with higher pressures than normal to the east of the Chatham Islands. This meant more northwesterly winds than normal, resulting in a very warm month for many regions. The northwesterly fronts also resulted in extremely heavy rainfall in the western Bay of Plenty on April 20.

Heavy rain hammered the Western Bay, with houses and streets flooded and 433 incidents reported to city authorities. A total of 218.8mm of rain fell in 48 hours, including nearly 50mm between 4am and 5am on that day.

The most affected areas were Mount Maunganui, Papamoa and Otumoetai. Some Mount Maunganui residents reported waking up to a third of a metre of water in their homes.

More than double normal April rainfall was recorded in Tauranga, 284mm (236 per cent of normal), and well above normal rainfall (more than 150 per cent) was recorded in other parts of the Bay of Plenty for the month.

The drenching resulted in flooding at Waihi, Katikati, Omokoroa, Mount Maunganui and Te Puke.

Te Puke also experienced New Zealand's fourth-highest temperature in April with 25.1C.

Tauranga's mean temperature for the month was 17.3C, compared to a nation-wide average of 14C.

Tauranga also received 172 hours of sunshine compared to other centres such as Auckland which had 170, Hamilton with 139, Wellington 127, Christchurch 116 and Dunedin at 120.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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