Holidays washed out by record rainfall

By Hayden Donnell

Much of the North Island and northern South Island were hit by double the normal rainfall for December.
Photo / Dean Purcell.
Much of the North Island and northern South Island were hit by double the normal rainfall for December. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Rainfall records tumbled throughout New Zealand in December as downpours wreaked havoc for holidaymakers and caused flooding around Nelson.

Figures just released by Niwa show most of the North Island and northern South Island were hit by double the normal rainfall for December.

The worst hit areas were around Nelson and Golden Bay, where torrential downpours caused slips and flooding and sparked evacuations.

Takaka, north of Nelson, received about 1100mm of rain - more than 800 per cent of its normal total.

Nelson's 441mm of rain was 600 per cent more than usual and the highest amount since records began in 1941.

Popular holiday spots north of Auckland also received record breaking or near-record breaking amounts of rain.

The Northland town of Kerikeri was hit by about 400 per cent more rainfall than usual, while Leigh and Whangaparaoa also recorded more than double their December average.

Highest December rainfall totals were also recorded in Te Puke, Rotorua, Hamilton, Stratford, Hawera, Wanganui and Motueka.

Areas with high rainfall also received below average sunshine hours.

Conversely, many areas in the south and west of the country received record low amounts of rain.

Queenstown's total of 9mm of rain was just 15 per cent of its normal total.
Lowest December rainfall totals were also recorded in Milford Sound, Puysegur Point, Dunedin, Manapouri, Lumsden, Gore, Invercargill, Balclutha and Tiwai Point.

The tinder dry conditions have been cited as a factor in recent bush fires around Wanaka.

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