Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Sun shining less on Tauranga

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Lawn Mowing Tauranga owner Dan Price said he saw the most grass growth in the past 10 years during February. Photo / Andrew Warner
Lawn Mowing Tauranga owner Dan Price said he saw the most grass growth in the past 10 years during February. Photo / Andrew Warner

Tauranga last month recorded the lowest number of sunshine hours for the month of February since records began.

The Niwa National Climate Centre Monthly Climate Summary shows 130 hours of sunshine were recorded for February. Tauranga had 145mm of rainfall across the city for the month with an average temperature of 21C, which was well above average.

In the past four years Tauranga has gone from having the second highest number of sunshine hours to the second lowest.
Chris Brandolino

The warm wet conditions has meant lawn mowing and gardening services across the Bay have been busy with businesses reporting double the grass growth during the month.

Niwa National Climate Centre principal scientist Chris Brandolino said the sunshine hours recorded for February were well below normal last month. Last year, 222 hours were recorded in Tauranga during February, in 2014 there were 216 sunshine hours and in 2013 Tauranga had 275 sunshine hours.

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"In the past four years Tauranga has gone from having the second highest number of sunshine hours to the second lowest."

Tauranga's mean temperature for February was well above average sitting at 21.7C for the month - the second highest temperature on record for the month, he said.

Mr Brandolino said the mean minimum temperatures was the highest for the month since records began at 18.3C. The mean maximum was 25.1C.

A combination of factors caused the sticky, warm over night temperatures last month, Mr Brandolino said.

"Significant tropical activity combined with higher than normal air pressure to the east of New Zealand and lower air pressure than usual south of the country produced more northerly to north-easterly winds."

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Mr Brandolino said weather in the Bay of Plenty was largely affected by the wind direction.

"There were a lot of north-easterly type winds that came off the water. When you have a easterly quarter wind you are going to get a higher threat for higher cloud and rain fall."

Great Gardens: Lawn Mowing Tauranga owner Dan Price said last month saw the most grass growth of any February in the past 10 years.

"There was twice as much grass to cut, instead of four or five inches of grass there was six to eight inches of growth in two weeks."

Mr Price said the rapid growth started in January in the warm, wet weather.

"Suddenly we had that wet weather and it just shot away."

Oasis Lawns and Property Care owner Mark Fenton said the grass growth was unprecedented.

"I have never seen anything like this. Usually by January and February the lawn is burnt off, especially at the Mount and Papamoa. This year is the polar opposite to that, the lawn is just growing like crazy everywhere."

Mr Brandolino said temperatures were most likely to be above average over the next few months with rainfall totals most likely to be in the normal range.

Outlook

Today there will be a high of 25C and overnight low 19C. It will be mainly fine, evening cloud, and chance shower at night.

Friday there will be a high of 26C and a low of 13C. Showers clear in the morning, bringing a fine afternoon.

This weekend there will be a high of 21C on Saturday and 22C on Sunday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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