Storm facts

June 22nd, 2013 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

NIWA report:

  • NIWA has been measuring wave height from a buoy two kilometres off Baring Head, Wellington, since 1995. Last night’s waves are the largest seen in that record.
  • Last night, the highest waves measured were typically 15 metres, from peak to trough, for the period around midnight last night.
  • Anecdotal information records the wave height at the time of the Wahine disaster at 12 to 14 metres.

Now I understand how the wall at Island Bay was destroyed.

  • These measurement show that last night’s storm is in the same category as five other major storms recorded in 1961, 1965, 1967, 1974, 1977 and 1985.
  • The maximum 10 minute average, sustained wind reading during the Wahine disaster was measured at 144 km/hour and stand out by far as the strongest in the 50 years of the record.
  • So this was an extreme event, but still not as intense as the Wahine storm.

But not as windy as Wahine.

  • The largest snow storm on record in the central South Island was registered in 1973.
  • Snow depth recorded by NIWA staff at Methven yesterday was 99mm compared with 610mm snow depth measured in 1973.
  • At Lake Tekapo, the snow depth of 600mm measured yesterday was similar to the 670mm measured in 1973.
  • The snow depth recorded on the inland road near Waiau yesterday was 229mm, slightly more than the 161mm recorded last year.

And still some way to goon the snow front.

Super Storm Sandy

October 31st, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The report at Stuff is sobering reading:

The most devastating storm in decades to hit the most densely populated US region has cut off modern communication and left millions without power, as thousands who fled their waterlogged homes wonder when – if – life will return to normal.

A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome super storm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn’t finished. …

More than 8.2 million households were without power in 17 states as far west as Michigan.

Nearly two million of those were in New York, where large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up under water – as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day from weather, the first time that has happened since a blizzard in 1888.

The city’s subway system, the lifeblood of more than five million residents, was damaged like never before and closed indefinitely, and Consolidated Edison said electricity in and around New York could take a week to restore.

New York with no subway system!

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicted the storm will end up causing about US$20 billion in damages and US$10 billion to US$30 billion in lost business. Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated losses up to Us$15 billion – big numbers probably offset by reconstruction and repairs that will contribute to longer-term growth.

Not really – this is a common mistake. Yes reconstruction does contribute to economic growth, but the money spent on it has an opportunity cost – and is money not invested in other areas – which would often contribute more to economic growth.

One of the most dramatic tales came from lower Manhattan, where a failed backup generator forced New York University’s Tisch Hospital to relocate more than 200 patients, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care.

Dozens of ambulances lined up in the rainy night and the tiny patients were gingerly moved out, some attached to battery-powered respirators as gusts of wind blew their blankets.

So emotional.

What damage could be seen on the coastline was, in some locations, staggering – “unthinkable,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said of what unfolded along the Jersey Shore, where houses were swept from their foundations and amusement park rides were washed into the ocean. “Beyond anything I thought I would ever see.”

The power of nature.

NZ temperatures in 2011

January 12th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NIWA have released:

The nation-wide average temperature for 2011 was 12.8°C, 0.3°C above the 1971–2000 annual average, using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.  2011 was the 17th warmest year since 1909, based on this 7-station series.

17th warmest. Some extremes though:

The highest recorded extreme temperature of the year (41.3°C) occurred at Timaru on 6 February (a new all-time high temperature record in the area).

Ouch. Also of interest is how each month compared to the norm for that month:

  • Jan +0.3
  • Feb +0.7
  • Mar +0.0
  • Apr -0.4
  • May +2.2
  • Jun +1.5
  • Jul +0.1
  • Aug -0.5
  • Sep -0.7
  • Oct +0.3
  • Nov -0.2
  • Dec +0.2

May was a scorcher.

The highest mean temp was 16.7 in Leigh and lowest was 7.6 at the Chateau, Mt Ruapehu.

Most rainfall was 9.49m at Cropp River and least was 0.39m at Clyde.

Nelson had the most sunshine with 2487 hours (6.8 hours a day) and Franz Josef the least at 1598 hours (4.4 hours a day).


Snowing in Wellington video

August 17th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

New Zealand Weather 2008

January 14th, 2009 at 9:51 am by David Farrar

NIWA kindly sent me their 2008 weather report for New Zealand. Some extracts:

  • The highest annual mean temperature recorded for the year was 16.5°C at Leigh (not a very high high!)
  • The highest recorded extreme temperature of the year occurred in South Canterbury being 34.8 °C recorded at Timaru Airport on 12 January and 19 March and at Waione on 22 January in very hot dry northwesterly conditions.
  • The lowest air temperature for the year was -9.5 ºC recorded at Mt. Cook on 20th August.
  • The highest recorded wind gust for the year (as archived in the NIWA climate database) was 183 km/h at Mokohinau Island on 11 May in strong easterly conditions, and also 183 km/h at Hicks Bay on 18 June.
  • The driest rainfall recording locations were Alexandra in Central Otago with 376mm of rain for the year, followed by Clyde with 378 mm, and then Middlemarch with 386 mm.
  • Of the regularly reporting gauges, Cropp River in the Hokitika River catchment recorded the highest rainfall with 10,940 mm, followed by North Egmont 8878 mm for 2008.
  • Wellington was by far the wettest main centre with 1662 mm, in contrast Christchurch and Dunedin were the driest of the five main centres with a mere 704 and 705 mm respectively. Auckland received 1226 mm and Hamilton 1220 mm.
  • Blenheim was the sunniest centre in 2008, recording 2505 hours, followed by Nelson with 2472 hours, then Lake Tekapo with 2444 hours. Christchurch was the sunniest of the five main centres with 2230 sunshine hours, then Wellington 2205 hours. Auckland recorded 2108 hours, Hamilton 2057 hours and Dunedin 1912 hours.

So Wellington gets more rain and more sun than Auckland!

It’s hailing

August 12th, 2008 at 10:03 pm by David Farrar

Been a while since it hailed in Wellington. A nasty wee night outside.