January 2007 Calmer Than Previous Four Years

Tawa’s climate during January 2007 was wetter and cooler than 2006 but warmer and drier than 2005. Overall, the month was calmer than conditions experienced during the previous four years.

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

The lowest January temperatures were 7 °C (2003), 10 °C (2004), 8.2 °C (2005), 8.2 °C (2006), 6.2 °C (2007).
The average daily low temperatures were 13 °C (2003), 12 °C (2004), 11 °C (2005), 13 °C (2006), 13 °C (2007).
The highest January temperatures were 29 °C (2003), 28 °C (2004), 28.3 °C (2005), 29.7 °C (2006), 29.8 °C (2007).
The average daily high temperatures were 23 °C (2003), 19 °C (2004) 18 °C (2005), 23 °C (2006), 21 °C (2007).
Average temperature: 17.7 °C (2005), 18.0 °C (2006) 17.0 °C (2007).
Average humidity: 80% (2005), 75% (2006), 83% (2007).

Days with frost: no data (2003), none (2004), none (2005), none (2006), none (2007).
Days with rain: no data (2003), 11 (2004), 10 (2005), 8 (2006), 17 (2007).
Days with thunderstorms: no data (2003), none (2004), 1 (2005), none (2006), none (2007).
Days with hail: no data (2003), none (2004), none (2005), none (2006), none (2007).
Days with strong winds: no data (2003), 7 (2004), 5 (2005), 15 (2006), 2 (2007).
Flood events: no data (2003) none (2004), 1 (2005), none (2006), none (2007).
Rainfall: 99 mm (2005), 58 mm (2006), 66 mm (2007).

January 2004, despite the odd bright day, is memorable for a windy and cloudy period that became known as Wellington’s “year without a summer”.

January 2005 was memorable for a region-wide flood event which commenced with steady rainfall causing flooding in the Hutt Valley and on the Kapiti Coast on Thursday the 6th. Rain eased the following day but again fell in earnest, isolating the Wellington region from the rest of the North Island by cutting both state highways with landslides and floodwater on Saturday 8th. Surface flooding was experienced by a number of suburbs, including Tawa.

January 2006 was windier than the previous three years, with a gust of 165 km/h being recorded at Mt Kaukau on the 3rd. A downpour on the 25th brought surface flooding to Tawa when 32 mm of rain fell.

January 2007 started on a chill note as the cold southerly storm which battered many parts of the country on New Year’s Eve slowly abated. The unseasonal chill sent people in many towns and cities rummaging through cupboards for heaters that had been stored in the hope of more clement weather.

In the Wellington region, chill horizontal rain slowly eased to be replaced by low cloud and mist which began lifting by January 3rd. A still sunny day on the 4th offered the hope of summer, but this was dashed when a gusty nor’easter brought cloud on the following day and a strong northerly wind on the 6th.

Still conditions set in on the 7th and 8th and temperatures again started slowly rising. Late on the 9th, drizzle turned to showers which persisted (interspersed with bouts of steady rain) until the 14th. Low cloud was noted on several days, as the weather became distinctly “muggy” and Tawa recorded its highest temperature for the month of 29.8 °C on the 12th. Wellington International Airport was closed by sea fog on the 13th, disrupting travel plans for 4,000 passengers as 86 flights were cancelled.

Conditions improved on the 15th as still, sunny conditions predominated, bringing a welcome maximum temperature of 26 °C on the 16th as the humidity dropped. Temperatures then slipped back a little, but the summery weather continued until a windy afternoon on the 23rd saw a return to high humidity, low cloud and drizzle. The muggy conditions were brief, however, and fair conditions prevailed until several showery days marked the period from the 26th to the 30th.

Unlike 2005, it wasn’t the weather that threatened isolation of the Wellington region during January 2007. State Highway 2 was closed for 8 hours on the 21st when a truck and trailer unit overturned, crushing a car on the Wairarapa side of the Rimutaka Hill Road. The resulting snarl-up of holiday-season traffic brought many roads to a crawl as traffic was forced to take very long detours to access Wellington via State Highway 1 near Levin.

Tawa’s gardeners had hoped the mid-January improvement would offer a late reprieve for stunted vege crops. The result was a mixed bag, with capsicums sulking, lettuce plants bolting, scarlet runner beans coming in at the rear of the field, and passionfruit plants keeling over after being drowned. One crop bucked the trend, however. A good crop of table grapes seemed on the cards in one garden whose location is a close-kept secret.

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