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Published: 2008-02-08 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is monitoring the weather situation closely and evaluating the need to impose restrictions via a water shortage direction after the Waikato region was officially declared a drought zone yesterday.
The following information provides a brief summary of the climate information over the summer period so far, drawing on council data and information from NIWA and Metservice.


Extremely low rainfall levels were recorded over most of the region during January 2008, with the exception of the Coromandel area, which had 50-70 per cent of average rainfall.

Meanwhile, rainfall was 10-20 per cent of the January average over much of the rest of the region.

Environment Waikato monitors data from seven telemetred rainfall sites with greater than 20 years of record and five sites reported from NIWA’s National Climate Centre. All of these sites recorded their third lowest rainfall ever or lower.

Rainfall sites at or near record low rainfall. Sites denoted with * are NIWA sites.

Location January Rainfall (mm) Percentage of average Year records began How low since records began?
Paeroa* 8 10 1916 Very Low
Te Kuiti 14.5 14 1983 Second lowest
Mangatangi 33 32 1986 Third lowest
Maukoro landing 1 2 1987 Lowest
Ngaroma 40.5 25 1982 Second lowest
Te Aroha 6.5 9 1986 Second lowest
Kiko Road 37.5 27 1976 Second lowest
Otewa 14.5 14 1981 Lowest
Matamata* 3 3 1966 Lowest
Pukekohe* 13 14 1982 Second lowest
Ruakura* 4 4 1906 Lowest
Hamilton Airport* 7 8 1990 Lowest


The maps below give a snapshot of regional hotspots – please note these are estimates only and are not to be reproduced.

Rainfall totals (mm) for January 2008 - black dots indicate sites used

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Rainfall as a percentage of average January rainfall

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Air temperature

NIWA figures indicate the mean air temperature in the Waikato was 2oC above average for January.

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Soil moisture deficit

The national climate centre (NIWA) has described the soil moisture deficit in the majority of the Waikato at the end of January as severe.

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As the table below shows, of 36 telemetered river flow sites, 11 were at record lows for January or record flows for any month.

Record low river flows

River Site Year records began Comments
Piako Kiwitahi 1980 January record low
Mangaokewa Te Kuiti 1983 January record low
Waipa Otewa 1985 Record low
Waipa SH31 1967 Record low
Mangawara Jefferis 1974 January record low
Waingaro Ruakiwi road 2001 Record low
Waikato Rangiriri 1965 January record low
Mangatutu Walker road 2004 January record low
Mangapu SH3 2000 January record low
Waitoa Waharoa 1984 January record low
Waihou Te Aroha 1965 January record low


What is predicted?

The Metservice 14 day regional forecast for the Waikato has a few days of rain expected. However, the Metservice is predicting below normal rainfall and above normal temperature to extend through February and March.

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