Proof of drier place to be

Last updated 09:09 16/11/2012

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A call came in a couple of weeks ago from a fellow in Blenheim wanting to know why the weather readings in two of our papers are different.

He rightly pointed out that Marlborough Midweek weather readings by late October showed Blenheim had 52.2 millimetres of rain for the month to date and 546.8mm for the year to date.

Now turn to the readings in The Marlborough Express for the same period, he said. I did and discovered the rainfall figure for the month to date was 72.6mm, and 615mm for the year.

How could this be, he wanted to know. Which one was right and why weren't they the same?

Good questions.

So I put a call in to the MetService, which does all our weather maps and tables. They soon came back with an answer.

The difference is because the readings published in the Express each day are taken at the Marlborough Airport recording station, about 8 kilometres west of Blenheim. The readings in Midweek each Wednesday are taken from the Plant and Food Research station in Budge St.

And these weather experts assured me the 8km or so between the two sites is enough to change the weather to create the difference in the figures.

I suspect there might be other reasons - and so did the caller - such as the accuracy of the recording equipment, but we'll just have to sit on those suspicions.

The outcome was for the weather people to put a note on the Midweek panel saying exactly where the readings are taken.

There is a good reason for us taking the readings from different places.

The research centre readings are automated at 9am and that can't be changed for all sorts of reasons, but that is too late to get the readings, make up the graphics package, send it to us and for us to get it in the Express. We need all that information by about 7am, and the only place MetService can get the readings from early enough is the airport.

There is no rush for the charts for Midweek, so those are still taken from Budge St.

But what this does tell me is that, to avoid more rain, buy a house in Budge St rather than out by the airport.

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- The Marlborough Express

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