June 2008 Warmer, Wetter

Tawa’s climate during June 2008 was warmer than the same month in the previous three years, but cooler than 2003. Rainfall was higher than readings taken since 2005.

June 2008 began with cloudy showery days and a strong cold northerly on the afternoon of the third heralded a change. Overnight the wind changed to the south bringing chilling rain squalls until evening when conditions began improving. Still, clear days followed until the 6th when the wind began rising through the scale to a northwest gale on the morning of 7th, shaking houses with some big gusts. An expected southerly change arrived abruptly around 7 p.m. on the 7th, bringing a 10 minute downpour during which the rain rate peaked at 133 mm/hr briefly, and 8 mm of rain was recorded in the quarter hour to 7:15 p.m.

Calmer days followed and the valley of Tawa was swathed in fog around the middle of the day on the 12th. Showery, drizzly days followed and, while Tawa was free of fog on the 16th, Wellington airport was closed by a “pea-souper” until early afternoon. A southerly gale on the 17th brought low cloud and mist until the wind dropped abruptly ca. eleven o’clock that night.

The morning of the 22nd was so gloomy that sensor lights could be triggered by pets at 11 a.m. and fog occupied the valley the following morning. A gale force northerly on the 25th produced gusts up to 120 km/hr at Mt. Kaukau and the associated heavy rain reached a peak rain rate of 50.7 mm/hr at 5:50 p.m. The wind changed to strong westerlies the following day before easing.

A forecast southerly blast arrived on cue late on the 28th bringing steady rain and gale force winds. The 29th was a wild, bitterly cold day causing Cook Strait ferry sailings to be cancelled due to 7 metre swells, and flights to regional destinations to be cancelled at Wellington owing to difficulties in getting passengers safely across the tarmac to their aircraft. Snow in the central North Island closed both S.H. 1 and S.H. 4 causing long detours for people travelling through the area by car. By the end of the day, 43 mm of rain had been recorded at Tawa, making it the wettest day for the year to date.

June 2007 started with windy days, rising to gale force on the evening of the 5th. Winds then eased and calm and sunny days followed until conditions deteriorated on the 15th when a cold southerly brought icy showers that evening. The southerly dominated until the 18th when the sun broke through and a frost settled on the mornings of the 19th and 20th. The 20th was a chill day with cloud preventing temperatures rising above 9 ºC and steady rain set in overnight.

The 21st was another gloomy day with showers, low cloud and mist, spiced up by an evening thunderstorm which dumped 4 mm of rain during impressive squalls. A strong northerly the following day brought a welcome return to sunny conditions, and calm sunny days remained until a southerly brought showers and hail on the 25th and more overnight as it strengthened. Snow fell on the Rimutakas.

Conditions eased on the 26th, and another frost set on the 28th, following which the thermometer struggled up to 8 ºC under high cloud. Steady rain on the 29th and 30th boosted the rainfall figures with 22 mm falling overnight, and the thermometer managed to climb back to double digit maximums in the low teens.

June 2006 began with temperatures noticeably cooler than normal with still, sunny days. Steady rain set in on the 4th and a strong southerly overnight brought intermittent hail showers with the wind dying out late in the day and a frost greeting morning commuters on the 6th. Calm, still conditions with cold nights set in until a gusty northerly brought showers on the 11th. The northerly rose to gale force on the 12th, and changed to the south in the afternoon driving temperatures down before it petered out causing a -1 °C frost on the morning of the 14th.

A gusty sou’wester early on the 16th brought squalls mid-morning followed by a northerly gale, complete with intermittent downpours and thunderstorms. Still days and cold nights set in until the next storm arrived on the 19th with southerly gales, steady rain and the odd shower of hail. The storm ceased abruptly that evening and the 20th was a cold but sunny day. Steady southerlies returned late on the 21st, bringing steady rain and hail on the 22nd, causing surface flooding around the Wellington region.

Dreary cold conditions then applied until the 27th, with showers and misty drizzle holding daily maximums to 11 °C or lower. A brief clearance on the 29th allowed a frost to settle and drizzle returned the following day.

June 2005 started with cool, clear conditions, with temperatures rarely rising above 10 °C. A frost on the morning of the 4th was followed by drizzle and low cloud on the 5th and 6th, and another frost on the morning of the 7th. Clear conditions with cooler temperatures then applied until misty rain and low cloud set in on the 10th and 11th. Drizzly, showery conditions again applied between the 13th and 15th.

The weather again cleared until a period of steady rain arrived on the 18th and yielded again to fine conditions until gusty nor’easters and rain set in on the 21st. Sunny cool days followed until showers and hail fell on the morning of the 26th. A frosty morning on the 27th set the tone for the remainder of the month with cold nights and warmer days.

June 2004 started with dry and calm conditions until the 4th when a northerly gale brought rain in the morning and the winds rose to severe gale in the afternoon. The 5th brought a sunny respite before a cold southerly lowered temperatures and brought showers and hail the following day. Sunny, cool days followed, with a frost on the mornings of the 10th and 12th. Drizzly conditions on the 14th heralded a weather change with gusty northerlies blowing until the 16th.

After a brief fine spell, steady rain started on the 18th, culminating in a short storm of gale force northerlies punctuated by 3 downpours on the evening of the 20th. Dry, calmer conditions returned and the thermometer spent most of its time in single digits until the 25th, with a frost on the previous morning. Temperatures then rose slightly, with a few periods of drizzle until a southerly gale arrived on the evening of the 30th.

June 2003 also started calm and dry. Drizzle set in on the 3rd and rain then alternated with intermittent dry spells until a southerly gale brought a torrential downpour on the 9th. Winds reached severe gale overnight on the 10th, and temperatures plummeted to single figures. Rain ceased on the 11th, but temperatures stayed low until the 13th. Rain returned briefly on the 15th and temperatures recommenced a downward trend, remaining in single figures until the 19th. Two frosts were recorded on successive nights on the 26th and 27th. Steady rain set in on the 28th, and residents were woken by thunderstorms and heavy rain on the morning of the 30th.

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

The lowest June temperatures were -1 °C (2003), 0 °C (2004), 0.7 °C (2005), -1 °C (2006), 1.0 °C (2007), 0.7 °C (2008).
The average daily low temperatures were 9 °C (2003), 8 °C (2004), 7 °C (2005), 4 °C (2006), 6 °C (2007), 7 °C (2008).
The highest June temperatures were 19 °C (2003), 16 °C (2004), 14.9 °C (2005), 15.6 °C (2006), 17.1 °C (2007), 17.4 °C (2008).
The average daily high temperatures were 15 °C (2003), 13 °C (2004), 12 °C (2005), 12 °C (2006), 13 °C (2007), 13 °C (2008).

Average temperature: 9.7 °C (2005), 8.2 °C (2006), 9.6 °C (2007), 10.5 °C (2008).
Average humidity: 85% (2005), 87% (2006), 82% (2007), 82% (2008)

Days with frost: 2 (2003), 3 (2004), 3 (2005) 3 (2006), 3 (2007), none (2008).
Days with rain: 17 (2003), 13 (2004), 13 (2005), 13 (2006), 10 (2007), 15 (2008).
Days with thunderstorms: 1 (2003), none (2004), none (2005), 1 (2006), 1 (2007), none (2008).
Days with hail: none (2003), 1 (2004), 1 (2005), 3 (2006), 2 (2007), none (2008).
Days with strong winds: 4 (2003), 8 (2004), 1 (2005), 7 (2006), 7 (2007), 13 (2008).
Rainfall: 48 mm (2005), 105 mm (2006), 69 mm (2007), 127 mm (2008).

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