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A summer of extremes


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After the warmest winter on record, Wairarapa is now expecting a summer of extremes.
New Zealand had its hottest winter on record for a second year running with National Institute for Water and Atmosphere [Niwa] climate data has showing winter 2021 [June to August] was 1.32 degrees Celsius above average. Now, meteorologists expect a summer of intense weather events.
The data from Niwa’s “seven-station” temperature series which extends back to 1909, also showed that seven of the 10 warmest winters on record have occurred since 2000. Masterton is one of the seven stations this data is derived from.
AMI has urged homeowners to check their insurance needs ahead of the summer season.
It said its latest outlook predicted higher than usual flood risk throughout the North Island, including Wairarapa.
Niwa principal scientist for forecasting Chris Brandolino said Wairarapa was tricky to predict when compared to further north or southern areas, but it was safe to say we’d see a hotter than normal summer with the chance of severe rainfall.
“People should plan for extended dry spells, but heavy rainfall events are more likely with La Nina.”

Dry and cracked foreshore of the northern end of Lake Wairarapa in January 2015. PHOTO/FILE

He said La Nina meant we could experience extreme rainfall anywhere in New Zealand, but it became more likely the further north you travelled.
“Although grouped together, there could be a dramatic rainfall difference between Gisborne and Wairarapa.”
Brandolino said it was important to keep an eye on water tanks, but also to be aware of the possibility for sudden downpours.
AMI principal specialist in meteorology Bruce Buckley said the latest meteorological data had shown that New Zealand’s wild weather run was “far from over”.
“We’re already seeing considerable anomalies in Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures, which are the driving force behind New Zealand’s weather patterns.
“In some places, sea temperatures are already about 3degC higher than usual, which strongly suggests summer weather conditions are going to be far from normal.”
AMI executive manager of claims Dean MacGregor said recent flooding events across the country and last year’s fires at Lake Ohau were a firm reminder of how destructive severe weather events could be.
“We will always be here to help customers get back on their feet after a major weather event – but we know from experience that preparing your home for flooding or wildfires ahead of time can save people and communities a lot of heartache.”
The Times-Age reported last November that residents had been evacuated from their homes after a landslip caused the valley to flood and block the road.
Two homes upstream and two homes downstream of Kaiwhata Rd in Carterton’s eastern coastal hills were cut off after a months’ worth of rain was dumped in the area in just 12 hours.
The same area flooded once again in June.
In January this year, about 1700 Wairarapa residents were left without power as storms caused “extensive damage” with a combination of high winds and heavy rain that produced flooding and power cuts across the region.

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