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Winter warmer

A late August morning view of the snowy Tararua range at Para Rd, Parkvale. PHOTO/FILE

Hottest August in more than 110 years



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A winter that brought torrential downpours, slips and flooding, also brought Masterton its warmest August in over 110 years.

The town recorded a mean average of 10.5 degrees Celsius over the month, which was 2.2C above normal, according to data released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) this week.

While NIWA forecaster Ben Noll said Wairarapa experienced a “pretty normal season”, extreme weather events that affected the region could suggest otherwise.

During July, the Tararua Ranges, Rimutaka Hill and some low-lying land received a scattering of snow.

If that wasn’t enough, July bought with it extreme rain periods causing significant flooding and slips to vulnerable areas including the flooding of Jones Pl in Masterton.

Flooding of the Ruamahanga River and Huangarua River near Martinborough closed bridges that were the only access routes to the town.

On July 21, a man had to be rescued from the roof of his car trapped in 500m floodwater near Carterton.

At the peak of the floods, over the two-day period, about 1200 homes were without power across the region.

Masterton recorded a total of 251mm over winter involving 41mm of rain in June, 151.6mm in July, and 58.4mm in August.

Martinborough recorded 270.6mm over the season being 29.2mm in June, 156.6mm in July, and 84.8mm in August.

Nationwide, July was an “active” month due to the passage of several low-pressure systems.

August was warm throughout the country, with abundant rain in eastern parts of the North Island, including Wairarapa.

Masterton was listed among other towns such as Haast, Kaitaia and Paraparaumu to have experienced above normal temperatures for the month, but Masterton “was the most substantial”.

“Considering the South Island had a lot of chilly spots, all things considered you guys weren’t doing too bad,” Mr Noll said.

Masterton recorded a mean temperature of 8C being 7.7C in June, 7.1C in July, and 9.2C in August.

Martinborough recorded a seasonal mean temperature of 8.4C, being 8.6C in June, 7.8C in July, and 8.9C in August.

The highest temperature across the country during winter was 23.2C in Kaikoura, and the lowest was recorded at Lake Tekapo at minus 14.6C.

Sunshine hours for Wairarapa were near normal with an average each day of about three to four hours of bright sunshine each day, Mr Noll said.

“Some days you’ll have eight hours of bright sunshine and some you might have none, that’s just smoothing it out across the season.

“So basically, the further north you were in Wairarapa the sunnier it was.”

Akitio, in the Tararua District, recorded the country’s highest wind gust for August and for the season.

That was a gust of 170kph on August 13.

“Soil moistures were slightly above normal which is good going into spring,” Mr Noll said.


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