Hawke's Bay in firm grip of big dry

By Teuila Fuatai news@hbtoday.co.nz

Annual weather data for 2012 shows that little rain has fallen in Hawke's Bay since August.

After a damp start, rainfall tapered off dramatically in July and August, Weatherstation climate consultant James Morrison said.

"Probably about 85 per cent of our rainfall for the year fell up to the end of July or the first week of August.

"And after that we only had about 95mm of rain."

Figures from the Niwa climate database show 741mm of rain was recorded at the Napier weather station last year, 10 per cent less than average.

However, rainfall was above average for three months earlier in the year.

This was "a good start" for farmers and crop growers, especially as it rained through winter, Mr Morrison said.

"If we didn't get that rainfall through July and early August, we might be a lot further into drought conditions than what we are now."

And while a dry, hot summer is great for holiday-goers and tourist operators, Mr Morrison warned that without decent rainfall in the next few months, many farmers would be left out to dry.

"I know a couple of farmers who have said that their bores are now running two or three metres below what they thought it would be."

In terms of temperature, Mr Morrison said winter was relatively mild.

But despite the mild winter temperature, he recorded 27 air frosts at his Hastings' station throughout the year - the most since 2009.

The year's mean temperature in Napier was 13.9C, according to Niwa - 1.4C above the national average.

Nationally, most places had a drier and cooler year.

Niwa's annual climate summary showed Gisborne recorded the country's highest temperature with 34.5C on December 19.

Alexandra was the driest place on record, with only 378mm of rainfall.

A mid-winter deluge at Mt Taranaki, when 336m of rain fell on July 15, was the highest single day's rainfall last year.

Niwa principal climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait said: "It would have been funny if someone from Alexandra was visiting someone up in Mt Taranaki - their entire amount of rainfall fell in one day."

Despite this, annual rainfall totals were down for the west coast of both islands.

Wanganui recorded its driest year on record and the country's east coast had a more moderate year of rainfall - with normal annual rainfall.

Hawke's Bay weather 2012

Napier weather station: Mean temperature 13.9C, rainfall for the year 741mm.

Wairoa weather station: Mean temperature 14.3C, rainfall for the year 1137mm.

Throughout New Zealand: Highest average temperature - Whangarei (15.8C), followed by Kaitaia (15.7C) and Cape Reinga/Whangaparaoa (both 15.5C); highest recorded temperature - Gisborne, December 19 (34.5C), followed by Middlemarch/Clyde on December 25 (both 33.5C), and Christchurch on December 17 (33.3C); lowest temperature - Darfield, June 7 (-11.8C), followed by Lake Pukaki, June 7 (-11.5C) and Ranfurly, July 2 (-11.3C); nationwide average temperature for 2012 - 12.5C; strongest wind gust - Cape Turnagain, December 2 (206km/h), followed by the Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago, January 31, and Cape Turnagain, October 18 and 25 (both 185km/h); lowest annual rainfall - Alexandra (378mm), followed by Clyde (417mm), and Cromwell (455mm); wettest spots - Cropp River, West Coast (9630mm), followed by Doon River, Fiordland (7410mm), and Tuke River, West Coast (7175mm); sunniest location - Whakatane (2602 hours of sun), followed by Nelson (2584 hours), and Lake Tekapo (2562 hours).Source: NiwaAnnual weather data for 2012 shows that little rain has fallen in Hawke's Bay since August.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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