A Late Finish to Summer

Another dry spell in Tawa seems set to be broken by anticipated showers later today. The latest run of 9 days without rain confirms the welcome effect of an “Indian summer” which has allowed us to enjoy a late end to a summer that seemed reluctant to start.

March is normally a month that marks the transition toward winter and, while the weather is generally not extreme, it usually brings weather that is sharply different from February’s – generally our best summer month.

However, the trend during 2007 has been for March to be drier, calmer and warmer than recent years in Tawa. With only 5 days of rain to date, this March seems to be on a par with March 2003 and much drier than 2004 when rain fell on 10 days, 2005 when rain fell on 18 days, and 2006 when rain fell on 13 days.

Actuall rainfall measurements for Tawa are only available for the last 2 years, and this month’s rainfall of 32 mm to date, is much lower than last March when 91 mm fell and 2005 when 101 mm fell.

The average temperature has been better as well. Tawa’s average temperature for March has been 17.4° C to date, compared with 14.7° C for March last year and 16.3° C in 2005.

Average humidity has been lower too, being 80% so far for March, 81% in 2006 and 85% during March 2005.

Not surprisingly, the fire danger for the Wellington region has fluctuated wildly between extreme and moderate this month. In recent days, it has eased back from extreme and the rain seems likely to stabilise it for several days. But then, the rain hasn’t fallen yet, and it won’t be the first time this month that forecast showers haven’t materialised.

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