April 2008 Wetter Than Normal

Tawa’s climate during April 2008 was wetter than normal, although more than half of the month’s total fell on two days. Temperatures were close to normal, with the average temperature up slightly, but the highest temperature was lower than that previously recorded for April since records began in 2003.

April 2008 was memorable for the number of deaths related to weather events, all of which occurred outside the area usually covered by this summary. On Tuesday 15th thunderstorms were active in Northland, Auckland and Waikato and during the afternoon a man and his horse were killed by a lightning strike near Dargaville. Four other members of the hunting party were hospitalised after showing symptoms similar to electric shock but survived. The associated heavy rain broke the drought that had held sway in Waikato for several months.

Further south, six teenage students and a teacher were killed in the Mangatepopo Gorge near Tongariro when a flash flood washed through the canyon they were in. The party had been on an adventure organised by the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre.

Tawa’s weather was wetter than normal, but most of the rain fell during two weather events on the 5th and the 29th and 30th. The downpour on the evening of the 30th saw rain rates peak at 1 mm per minute for a short period, and 27 mm fell that day. The change to wet weather was in stark contrast with March during which the Wellington councils maintained sprinkler bans and warned of hosing bans if storage lakes were not replenished. In all, rain or drizzle fell on 17 days, and it was the wettest April since records commenced in 2003.

Daily maximums were lower than normal, but the average temperature was slightly above that previously recorded, except for 2006 when the average temperature was one degree higher. Overall, the month was typically calm, with strong winds recorded on only 3 days. The thunderstorms which livened things up in 2003, 2005 and 2006 were conspicuously absent.

April 2007 started with a gusty northerly on the 1st, but this soon yielded to light breezes or still conditions until the 10th when a gusty northerly rose through the scale to become gale force on the afternoon of the 11th. The wind changed to the south the following day and minimum temperatures plunged to single digits as we adapted to the first wet, chill southerly for some weeks.

The sun returned on the 14th and still conditions prevailed until a cold wet southerly returned on the 18th. Once again, calm conditions returned on the 19th and held sway until the month’s end with steady rain and low cloud making the 28th a dreary day. The weather seemed to break with tradition on Anzac Day 2007 when almost the entire country enjoyed fine weather for the April 25th commemorative activities.

April 2006 featured calm periods with low cloud and fog recorded on 7 days, punctuated by lively storms. Just before midnight on the 8th a thunderstorm put on a fine show, attended by intermittent downpours. The thunderstorms continued at times on the 9th and 10th, and were covered by a separate story on this site.

The many calm days allowed low cloud or fog to be recorded on 7 days during April 2006 and also account for the increased count of “rain days” as damp drizzly conditions with rain rates too low to trigger the weather station’s rain gauge applied on 4 days during the month.

April 2005 was lively, with alternating calm and windy periods. Squalls brought intermittent downpours on the 21st and thunderstorms brought hail on the morning of the 24th. That evening, thunderstorms returned in earnest, delivering icy downpours and hail for several hours. Electricity supplies were disrupted and computers and other appliances were tied in knots by numerous power flicks. The evening’s lightning displays were most impressive.

April 2004 was unremarkable with weather conditions alternating between mild sunny days and cloudy misty conditions. Foggy conditions were noted on the 30th.

April 2003 was also unremarkable except for cold southerlies which blew on the 5th, 17th, 18th, 24th and 28th. Thunderstorms between 9 p.m. and midnight on the 5th provided entertainment on a night of light winds and intermittent downpours.

Automatic and manual readings taken at Tawa since 2003 can be summarised as follows:
The lowest April temperatures were 4 °C (2003), 3 °C (2004), 2.9 °C (2005), 6.2 °C (2006), 5.1 ºC (2007), 4.6 °C (2008).
The average daily low temperatures were 9 °C (2003), 8 °C (2004), 9 °C (2005), 12 °C (2006), 9 ºC (2007), 10 °C (2008).
The highest April temperatures were 23 °C (2003), 22 °C (2004), 24.2 °C (2005), 22.3 °C (2006), 22.7 ºC (2007), 21.8 °C (2008).
The average daily high temperatures were 17 °C (2003), 17 °C (2004), 18 °C (2005), 19 °C (2006), 18 ºC (2007), 18 °C (2008).

Average temperature: 13.3 °C (2005), 15.3 °C(2006), 13.5 ºC (2007), 14.3 °C (2008).
Average humidity: 84% (2005), 86% (2006), 84% (2007), 83% (2008).

Days with frost: none (2003), none (2004), none (2005) none (2006), none (2007), none (2008).
Days with rain: 11 (2003), 8 (2004), 11 (2005), 16 (2006), 10 (2007), 17 (2008).
Days with thunderstorms: 1 (2003), none (2004), 1 (2005), 3 (2006), none (2007), none (2008).
Days with hail: none (2003), none (2004), 2 (2005), none (2006), none (2007), none (2008).
Days with strong winds: 3 (2003), 1 (2004), 4 (2005), 5 (2006), 4 (2007), 3 (2008).
Rainfall: 35 mm (2005), 82 mm (2006), 54 mm (2007), 100 (2008).

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