Central tops driest in 2012 list
Alexandra, Clyde and Cromwell topped the 2012 list for the driest towns in the country, recording the lowest rainfall for the year in New Zealand. Alexandra recorded the least amount of rain – 378 millimetres for the year, followed by Clyde with 417mm, and Cromwell with 455mm. The town overtook Clyde for the title of the driest place after Clyde topped the list in 2011 with 395mm of rainfall. The wettest places in New Zealand last year were the Cropp River on the West Coast which recorded 9630mm of rain for the year, the Doon River in Fiordland with 7410mm, and Tuke River, also on the West Coast with 7175mm. Mt Taranaki had 336mm of rain fall in one day on July 15 – the highest rainfall recorded anywhere in the country. Unlike 2011, several Central Otago towns featured in the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research annual climate summary for 2012. Middlemarch and Clyde recorded the second highest temperature of 33.5 degrees Celsius on Christmas day, behind Gisborne which recorded 34.5C on December 19. Ranfurly recorded the third lowest temperature of -11.3C on July 2, behind -11.8C in Darfield and - 11.5C at Lake Pukaki on June 7. The Rock and Pillar range, near Ngapuna, recorded the second strongest wind gust on January 31 of 185kmh, behind 206kmh recorded at Cape Turnagain on December 2. NIWA national climate centre principal climate scientist Andrew Tait said Central Otago towns made the list of the driest towns every year. It could be ‘‘very hot in the day and very cold at night’’, Mr Tait said. Despite the average rainfall across New Zealand decreasing, parts of Central Otago recorded above normal rainfall – more than 120 per cent of their average, he said.