December 2006 Windier, Stormier

Tawa’s climate during December 2006 was stormier than the previous three years, with prolonged windy periods and temperatures lower than 2003 and 2005, but on par with 2004.

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

The lowest December temperatures were 8 °C (2003), 6 °C (2004), 9 °C (2005) and 7 °C (2006).
The average daily low temperatures were 14 °C (2003), 11 °C (2004), 15 °C (2005) and 11 °C (2006).
The highest December temperatures were 24 °C (2003), 26 °C (2004), 27 °C (2005) and 23 °C (2006).
The average daily high temperatures were 21 °C (2003), 19 °C (2004), 24 °C (2005) and 19 °C (2006).

Average temperature: 18.2°C (2005), 14.4°C(2006).
Average humidity: 81% (2005), 79% (2006)

Days with frost: none (2003), none (2004), none (2005) none (2006).
Days with rain: 16 (2003), 15 (2004), 13 (2005), 14 (2006).
Days with thunderstorms: 1 (2003), none (2004), 1 (2005), 2 (2006).
Days with hail: none (2003), none (2004), none (2005), 1 (2006).
Days with strong winds: 8 (2003), 8 (2004), 10 (2005), 13 (2006).

Rainfall: 46 mm (2005), 69 mm (2006).

December 2003 started unremarkably with calm conditions, with drizzle on the 4th and 5th. The air grew heavy and humid late on the 5th, with blustery northerlies increasing to strong gusty nor’easters on the morning of the 6th. Steady rain fell on the 7th, easing to periods of drizzle on the 8th and 10th. Humid conditions on the 12th and 13th hid the hills in fog until the gusty north-east wind cleared the air a little on the 14th.

Sunny conditions then prevailed until strong northerlies brought humid conditions and damaged trees and shrubs on the 10th. The following day brought drizzly rain and the wind blew strongly from all northerly quarters all day. Winds eased until warm gusty nor’westers arrived on the 25th and changed to the north-east and increased to gale force the following day and the hills were wreathed in mist. Rain commenced late on the 27th and the 28th was a wild day of thunder, lightning, strong wind gusts with intermittent downpours causing house guttering to overflow. Calm conditions returned on the 29th, and steady rain fell on the 30th as temperatures plummeted to the low teens. Whilst the 31st was sunny, the overnight low of 8 °C was a shock.

December 2004 started with mild conditions, misty drizzle on the 2nd and a strong northerly on the 3rd. The 4th was sunny but a southerly gale on the 5th brought steady rain. Sunny, calm days returned until the 9th when showers of rain fell and overnight temperatures fell into single digits amid cold, damp showery conditions on the 10th and 11th. A clearance late on the 11th saw the overnight low drop lower to 6 °C.

A northerly gale on the 13th was accompanied by a sickly yellow dusk. Thereafter conditions improved until the 16th, when heavy rain fell. A strong westerly on the 17th brought a sickly yellow dusk again but then cleared the air and was followed by steady rain and strong, cold southerly winds on the 18th and 19th. Calm returned until late on the 23rd when a gusty northerly brought showers which eased to drizzle the next day.

New Zealand had a close call when the strongest earthquake for 2004, a magnitude 8.1 quake, struck west of the Auckland Islands on the 24th. This event was quickly overtaken by news of the even larger Boxing Day earthquake and the associated tsunami which caused much devastation in the Indian Ocean. Weatherwise, the remainder of the month was unremarkable apart from strong nor’westers on the 26th, and the commissioning of the automatic weather station on the 29th and steady rain on the 30th.

December 2005 began in a fashion similar to the previous year, being calm on the 1st with a gusty northerly arriving on the 2nd, rising to gale force on the 3rd and bringing low cloud and strong gusts on the 4th. The gusty wind changed to the north-west on the 5th, and a spectacular thunderstorm entertained commuters stuck in traffic jams on State Highway 1 and 2 due to a northbound truck which crashed through into southern lanes on Wellington’s motorway at Aotea Quay on the morning of the 6th. Morning commuters were still stuck in the traffic at 10 a.m. as the thunderstorm and its associated downpours eased, allowing heavy lifting gear to clear the motorway lanes.

Milder conditions set in, and fog swathed the vale of Tawa for much of the 13th. Still conditions prevailed until the 19th, with fog closing Wellington International Airport on the 17th, and lurking about the hills of Tawa on the 18th. A gusty northerly brought steady rain on the 20th but eased back late the following day.

The afternoon of the 22nd was misty, showers fell on the following afternoon, and showers and misty conditions returned late on the 25th. The remainder of the month was calm and still apart from gusty northerlies on the 30th.

December 2006 began with dismal cold showers but the sun broke through late on the 2nd while a cold southerly blew. A gusty northerly on the 3rd eased the following day, bringing drizzle and low cloud. The strong northerly returned on the 7th, rising to gale force with showers the next day. As dusk approached on the 8th, a cold southerly change brought a spectacular thunderstorm which could be seen from Tawa. The storm was located in the Tasman Sea just west of Nelson and local residents marvelled at the lightning display which could be seen through the gathering clouds to the west. Children shrieked at the flashes and intermittent booms from the distant storm, but were inside at 9:25 p.m. when another thunderstorm passed overhead.

The cold southerly change brought steady rain and hail fell briefly on the evening of the 9th, before the winds eased overnight. Still conditions applied until a strong northerly arose on the 12th, easing overnight. Gusty northerlies returned on the evening of the 15th, rising to gale force the following day, bringing steady rain on the 17th as they eased. Sunny, still days put in an appearance until steady rain early on the 20th was followed by a northerly gale that evening. A thunderstorm and heavy downpour announced the change to a cold southerly just after midnight and conditions eased as the 21st progressed.

Manual observations ceased as Christmas duties intervened until the 29th. The 30th dawned dry but conditions deteriorated as a cold southerly change brought showers during the morning. The southerly became stronger making the 31st as cold, wet and windy as a mid-winter’s day.

One Response to “December 2006 Windier, Stormier”

  1. lizzie of gizzie says:

    geez its bloody cold down there

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