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Wind, rain, slips mark 2006

Weather Observations: New Zealand

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December, 2006
There's no doubt the crazy weather patterns had an impact on most New Zealanders in 2006. While the South Island's massive mid-winter snowstorm left a legacy, a seemingly relentless cycle of downpours, landslides and gales battered the rest of the country. This year it rained, and then it rained some more. Summer for some brought wind and rain in January and thunder in February. Then came the autumn, and more storms. Rainfall was at least 150% of normal in the far north and in the east. Winter in the Wairarapa saw roads turned into rivers and paddocks became ponds. In July, over 300 millimetres of rain fell there in 24 hours, closing more than 50 local roads. It kept on falling further north as well, as a winter of rain meant a season for slips. While houses fell off hillsides in the Hutt Valley, millions of tonnes of earth plunged into the valleys of Rangitikai, Manawatu, southern Taranaki. Bridges were out and communities cut off. Auckland and Christchurch had slips too, and so did the East Coast. In Wellington, big winds meant big swells in Cook Strait where some ferry crossings were rough and a couple atrocious. The summer has been a long time coming. For the first half of December, temperatures across the country were two degrees below average - and in Wellington, three degrees lower. And that makes it the COLDEST START TO CHRISTMAS IN THE CAPITAL SINCE RECORDS BEGAN.

Observations Elsewhere
CANADA - 2006 was a comfortable, although UNUSUAL weather year for Greater Sudbury. January was the warmest January on record, going back to 1952-53, a full 6 Celsius above the normals, especially when you look at night time lows. “Greater Sudbury got double its normal snow load in February but got only 10 centimetres of snow in March." Summer was hotter with nine days with above 30 C temperatures versus the normal six days. A devastating windstorm hit on Monday, July 17 and there were RECORD-SETTING warm temperatures this December.

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