The MetService has recorded no rain in Whangarei this month, but it's not that it hasn't rained, just that the organisation's rain gauge at Whangarei Airport is not working.

And depending on whether it is a programming or mechanical fault, any rain data could be lost for ever.

The Northern Advocate contacted the MetService yesterday after noticing on its website that no rain had been recorded for Whangarei on Sunday. This was despite atrocious weather and heavy rain marking the Beach 2 Basin event that started at the Onerahi Foreshore on Sunday morning.

MetService meteorologist Hannah Moes said it looked like a faulty sensor had not triggered the usual alerts that the system was down, but a technician was being sent to check the equipment.


The weather station, which is inside a louvred box at the airport, still recorded temperatures and wind speeds over the past week and those figures are accurate. Rain falls into the rain gauge in the weather station and the amount in the gauge is measured by sensors, which may be faulty.

''If it was technical, it wasn't recorded and therefore can't be counted [in the monthly and yearly rainfall totals] and that will affect the rainfall statistics. If it was programming then we should be able to retrieve the data. ''

She said while the gauge had not collected any rainfall data since February 28, she did not know how long it had been faulty. A technician would determine that and if the data could be retrieved.

''It may be that there is a blockage, which would be fairly simple to fix, but we won't know until we get somebody to have a look, but that may take a couple of days,'' Ms Moes said.