October 2006 Wetter, Windier

Tawa’s climate during October 2006 was considerably wetter and windier than the previous three years.

Automatic and manual readings taken at Tawa since 2003 can be summarised as follows:

The lowest October temperatures were 0 °C (2003), 3 °C (2004), 4 °C (2005) and 1 °C (2006).
The average daily low temperatures were 9 °C (2003), 9 °C (2004), 9 °C (2005) and 9 °C (2006).
The highest MONTH temperatures were 21 °C (2003), 19 °C (2004), 23.2 °C (2005) and 19.2 °C (2006).
The average daily high temperatures were 16 °C (2003), 16 °C (2004), 17 °C (2005) and 15 °C (2006).

Average temperature: 13.0°C (2005), 12.1°C(2006).
Average humidity: 83% (2005), a data error prevented calculation for 2006.

Days with frost: 2 (2003), none (2004), none (2005) none (2006).
Days with rain: 16 (2003), 16 (2004), 12 (2005), 22 (2006).
Days with thunderstorms: none (2003), none (2004), 1 (2005), 1 (2006).
Days with hail: 2 (2003), none (2004), 1 (2005), 4 (2006).
Days with strong winds: 5 (2003), 5 (2004), 6 (2005), 13 (2006).
A flood event occurred in 2003.
Rainfall: 79 mm (2005), 149 mm (2006).

October 2003 started with a flood event disrupting the lower North Island. Drizzle on the 1st and 2nd turned to steady rain on the 3rd with the arrival of a northerly gale. By evening, intermittent downpours had caused roads to close and, by 11 p.m., Wellington was cut off from the rest of the North island by flooding at Plimmerton, Paekakariki and Lower Hutt.

A flash flood and extreme weather conditions on the Kapiti Coast resulted in a state of emergency being declared in the area, and residents in Waikanae heard the explosion of a Convair freight aircraft that broke up overhead at 9:30 p.m. scattering debris on at least one property before it plunged into the Tasman Sea killing both pilots. The weather station at Mana recorded 70 mm of rain on the 3rd, with 20 mm falling in the hour between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Conditions eased on the 4th, but the state of emergency remained in force on the Kapiti Coast. Wellington remained cut-off by road, with State Highway 1 closed between Paremata and Paraparaumu and the Rimutaka Hill Road (State Highway 2) closed by two slips. The rain eased to drizzle on the 5th but the temperatures had dropped and hail fell on at least two occasions during the evening. Clear skies the following morning allowed a frost to set.

Calm sunny days followed until the 10th when steady rain and low cloud returned for a day. Drizzle on the 12th turned to steady rain with cold southerlies on the 13th, and many sleepers were awoken by hailstorms early on the 14th which was a cold, bleak day. Another frost greeted residents on the 15th, heralding a return to calmer sunny days which lasted until the 24th when strong, cold southerlies returned. With ground already sodden, it was fortunate that the forecast rainfall did not eventuate and the sun put in an appearance mid-way through the afternoon of the 25th but the cold southerly remained until late on the 26th. Intermittent fine and drizzly conditions applied until month’s end.

October 2004 was less dramatic, but started with steady rain and low cloud on the 1st. Fine weather then set in until rain returned on the 5th and 6th and eased to drizzle on the 7th which lasted on and off until late on the 10th. The 10th was a gloomy, foggy day.

Low cloud and mist set in on the 13th and a strong northerly sprang up on the 14th. The wind eased a little but blew until late on the 15th. Rain fell steadily until late on the 18th, giving way to a sunny day before showers fell on the 20th. Fine weather set in again until drizzle, low cloud, intermittent downpours and scattered showers with gusty winds from north and south turned the 24th into a bizarre day.

Calmer conditions settled in for the remainder of the month, except for a gusty northerly which brought showers from the afternoon of the 29th through to the following afternoon.

October 2005 started with a gusty northerly switching to a southerly gale mid-morning on the 1st before turning toward the north-west later in the day. Steady rain set in late on the 2nd, after a still day, and eased to drizzle the following morning.

A gusty northerly on the 4th turned to the northeast around midnight, bringing steady rain which eased to showers later in the morning. Hail fell at midday and 5 p.m. on the 5th and the showery conditions dragged on until a thunderstorm lit up the sky just before midnight on the 7th.

Steady rain on the 10th and 11th yielded to still, sunny conditions on the 12th. Bright days then followed with a gusty nor’easter stirring things up on the 15th. Calm returned until drizzle indicated a change on the 20th. Steady rain on the 21st was accompanied by a southerly gale and cold damp conditions which cleared on the 22nd. Steady rain returned for a time on the 24th.

Cheery sunny spells dominated until a gusty northerly brought cloud on the 29th, but the month ended with a welcome 22 °C on the 31st.

October 2006 continued the changeable, gloomy conditions experienced in September, with steady rain on and off and low cloud until a strong southerly arrived on the morning of the 4th. The wind quickly rose to gale force dragging temperatures down to below 10 °C where they remained until the 6th when the strong southerly eased and the rain abated.

The storm caused many flights into Wellington airport to be canceled on the 4th, washed debris onto commuter train tracks at Ngauranga, and Cook Strait ferry sailings were suspended amidst 6 metre swells mid-afternoon. Hail fell early on the evening of the 5th but though the storm winds eased it wasn’t sufficiently still for a ground frost to set although the overnight low was 1 °C on the 6th/7th.

Rain ceased amidst light breezes on the 7th but a strong northerly brought gloomy low cloud, mist and drizzle on the 9th and many people remarked on the cold, damp conditions. Bright sunshine and a light northerly from the middle of the day on the 10th raised spirits, but only briefly. A sudden southerly change which hit Tawa at 4:30 p.m. brought rain, a little hail and … snow showers. Several reports of the snow showers were made at Johnsonville and Tawa but it did not lie on the ground and the sun re-appeared at 5:15 p.m. During the brief storm, the temperature plunged 5 °C but, once again, the conditions were insufficiently calm for a frost to settle with the overnight low of 2 °C.

Misty conditions on the 13th were accompanied by a strong northerly the following day. By evening it was again gloomy with showers, low cloud, mist and a strong northerly – conditions which persisted through into the 15th before it cleared somewhat in the afternoon.

Steady rain on the evening of the 16th led on to showers, hail and a cold southerly on the 17th. A brief respite was provided by a still, sunny day on the 18th before a northerly gale arrived with steady rain on the 19th. Conditions eased for a day and the northerly gale returned with low cloud and drizzle which turned to steady rain on the 22nd.

Another still period intervened on the 23rd, although the steady rain continued. By this time, early gardeners had wisened up and were abroad with butterfly nets on the 24th when a strong southerly gale brought more rain and the faint hope that some of their lost seedlings, which had been blown south in previous days, might make a brief return visit. The hope was in vain.

The yo-yo cycle continued with a calmer day on the 26th followed by a strong northerly with drizzle on the 27th. The drizzle ceased but the wind continued to wreak havoc amongst the vege gardens.

A drizzly, misty morning on Sunday 29th was followed by heavy rain with 35 mm being recorded at Tawa between 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The rain rate peaked at 42 mm/hr at 5:31 p.m., bringing the day’s total to 37 mm. Thor joined the party with a thunderstorm which shivered the lead-head nails for about an hour around midnight. The heavy rained continued, with bursts of hail thrown in to keep light sleepers awake on a Monday morning, catapulting the month’s rainfall to 149 mm and the year-to-date rainfall for Tawa to a whopping 1050 mm!

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