Rain, wind to jostle with sunshine
New year starts with unpredictable weatherMATT STEWART
If you thought it was a little on the damp side in the lower North Island, you'd be right - six times more rain has fallen since this New Year's Day than last year's.
But despite the extremely unsettled start to 2014, forecasters are predicting a big high looming under Australia will touch down mid this month and return summer to its throne for those under a cloud.
"It's been hinting at trying to improve," said MetService forecaster Daniel Corbett.
"Since Christmas you could probably count on two hands (and you'd run out of fingers) the number of weather systems we've had - two lows, quite a few active troughs, it's been more spring-like. The longer-term trend is trying to hint at things improving but Mother Nature, it's almost like she's having a bit of a bad hair day, she's having a bit of a tizzy.
Corbett said the highs were trying to build in, and would probably do so in the coming weeks.
"For example this week, by next weekend there is a high that slowly starts to ease towards us, but the next weather system after today's gorgeous day, tomorrow we look at a new weather system come into the west coast of the country, that brings us some rain here in Wellington as we run through the following days.
''The front pushes across on Tuesday evening, and it's not as mean and as nasty as some of the ones of the last few days in sense of wind. It's just another weather system. And that clears through and then it goes cooler and fresher with a southwesterly through Wednesday and Thursday and it will be brighter but there still might be some showers to come in particular through Thursday and maybe Friday.
"The high wants to try come in perhaps towards the later parts of the weekend, but it's almost like it's scared to dip its toes in the water. That is the trend, but these lows in the jetstream are still fairly active feeding in these weather systems so it's a bit like Mother Nature walking down the garden path, but instead of doing a straight line she's wiggling back and forth.
''So we're slowly trending towards these anti-cyclones which bring us a fine, long day.
""The longer term trend over the next couple of weeks is for more of the anti-cyclones to return, but Mother Nature is just being a bit stubborn at the moment, but we're going to get there eventually.
"Sometimes it's just a case of what Mother Nature does and how she throws the mix of weather systems - instead of saying 'have one a week' she says 'have seven or eight', and we've just been in a more unsettled pattern and it's been more spring-like especially when you get those damaging winds around the region like we saw on Friday."
Yesterday Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean was warning people to steer clear of the Town Belt after forecast gusty spells could loosen branches and debris over the coming week.
That follows last year's winter spells when much of the Town Belt was closed while trees and branches were felled - those storms caused about $6 million in damage in Wellington. That bill includes about $1m for clearing trees, as well as the cost of repairing sea walls surrounding the city, which were badly pummeled by waves.
STATE OF THE CLEANUP
Wellington City Council estimates last winter's storms will cost just under $6 million to repair, including $1m for tree removal and parks and gardens cleanup. The current state of repairs:
Willowbank Park, Tawa - damaged trees removed, bridge repaired.
Finnimore Tce, Vogeltown - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Hutchison Rd, Newtown - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Rear of Scarborough Tce, Mt Victoria - damaged trees made safe and tracks opened up.
Town Belt, Mt Victoria - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Erskine Close, Island Bay - works completed and walkway open.
Central Park, Brooklyn - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Khandallah Park - trees made safe and tracks clear.
Hillcroft Road, Horokiwi - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Beacon Hill, Strathmore Park - fallen and storm-damaged trees removed.
Tinakori Hill, Thorndon - of five major tree damage sites, four have been cleared. The main walking track re-opened just before Christmas. When work is finished the area will be re-assessed to see if further work is needed.
Karori Park - fallen and storm- damaged trees removed.
Karori Cemetery - since initial damage several more trees have failed and are being removed on a priority basis. The work should be completed over the next two weeks.
Berhampore Golf Course - trees removed and shipped for export. A thousand plants planted with more work to be completed this year.
Southgate Park - fallen trees removed.
Tawa Tawa Reserve, Happy Valley - fallen and damaged trees removed and hillside cleared. Tracks reinstated and last of debris being processed. 3000 plants planted in damaged area.
Spicer Forest, Tawa - work to clear a significant number of damaged trees is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
Wellington – 21C, sunny, fresh northerlies Wairarapa – 24C, sunny, northwesterlies Kapiti – 21C, mostly sunny, fresh northwesterlies Hawke's Bay – 26C, sunny, sea breezes Palmerston North – 22C, long sunny spells, fresh northwesterlies easing
- The Dominion Post
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