Big dry's month of records

By Don Farmer, don.farmer@age.co.nz


Weather records fell like nine pins in Wairarapa in January although it didn't take long for the month's hottest day to be beaten again this month.

The most critical statistic of the dry and hot month was the rainfall total for the Masterton district - a low 18mm, the lowest for January since records began in 1992, and 30 per cent of the normal rainfall for the month.

On the last day of the month, Masterton sweltered in 33.1C heat, the equal highest of any one-day temperatures for a January day since 1992.

But the record for a sweltering summer's day was soon broken again when only two days later, on February 2 the official temperature hit 33.3C.

Masterton was by no means the only hot spot in Wairarapa and in traditionally sunny Martinborough, 266 hours of sunshine was recorded for January, according to Niwa, more than double the normal sunshine hours for the town and the fourth highest since 1986.

As a result of the heat and lack of rain soil moisture was well down, a statistic that didn't sit comfortably with farmers.

The soil moisture deficit on January 31 was described as being "extreme."

On January 3 strong winds blew trees on to power lines throughout parts of the district resulting in power being lost to about 500 homes.

A week later drivers were being advised not to drive the Rimutaka Hill Road due to severe gales.

On that day, January 10, a motorcyclist was blown off his bike and a caravan being towed by a car was blown on to its side.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 31 Jul 2014 05:10:38 Processing Time: 290ms