Weather woes fade for Waitangi Day

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 13:00 05/02/2013

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Near-record wind gusts and downpours marked a month of extreme weather across the Nelson region.

Nelson received 90mm of rainfall on January 14, the fourth-highest single-day downpour in that month since records began in 1941.

Nelson's total rainfall in January exceeded one-and-a-half times usual levels, according to Niwa's monthly climate summary, marking a wet start to 2013.

Heavy rain last month was responsible for road closures and the flooding of several homes and businesses, as well as a dramatic flash flood escape for a group of tourists sleeping in a campervan on the Waimea River bank on January 15.

Tahunanui Beach was closed to swimmers as rain had caused sewerage to flow into the Waimea Inlet.

Nelson also experienced strong winds, recording a 95kmh gust on January 2, the equal second-highest windspeed on record.

January 6 saw the skies above Nelson streaked with lightning in one of the most impressive electrical storms in recent memory.

On January 7, a man was injured in the Abel Tasman National Park when his dinghy was lifted into the air by a strong breeze.

Trees were uprooted and roofs ripped from buildings during that day.

January 10 was also a day of extreme wind with wild weather affecting ships and yachts in the Nelson harbour. Agriculture also suffered, with damage to fruit and vegetable crops.

Record weather woes aside, Nelsonians can expect the skies to clear and the sun to shine tomorrow for Waitangi Day.

Nelson forecaster John Mathieson, of Nelson Weather Service, said the wet weather should clear this afternoon, leaving warm, dry skies overhead for the rest of this week.

Rain and cooler temperatures had been a result of a southerly front working its way up the West Coast, but summer highs would return this week, Mr Mathieson said.

"It is going to be fine through until Sunday night, despite a few cloudy periods tomorrow evening."

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