Notes on the weather during 1871.
January.—Northerly weather prevailed throughout the month, attended with excessive rainfall at the north extremity of the Islands, and small amount of rain with average humidity and high atmospheric pressure in the south. Average of pressure for all stations, 0.162 above that usual for this month, and temperature 0.4 above the usual average. A meteor on the 1st was observed over an area of 630 miles from N. to S. and 250 miles in width, passing through the zenith at Picton; altitude less than 30 miles; form pear-shaped; apparent length 1°, and diameter of head 10′ detonation heard within a radius of 80 miles from Picton. Meteor of 27th crossed North Island from N.E. to S.W., almost as brilliant as the above. Auroras in south.
February.—S. W. gales on 2nd and 9th, but atmospheric pressure tolerably uniform during the early part of the month, the maximum occurring after new moon on the 20th; it then declined one inch to the minimum on the 28th, when a southerly storm was felt throughout the whole islands, but most severely in the middle portions. The wind, followed by heavy rain, blighted the vegetation on the coast in a very unusual manner. This storm made the rainfall for the month excessive, especially in the North Island and on the East Coast of the South Island. The temperature was 1.9° below the usual average for the month. Frequent auroras in south.
March.—Very wet and stormy throughout, except in Southland, where it was unusually dry and calm. A heavy storm from 24th to 27th from N. E., changing to W., was felt generally throughout the colony, but at Auckland it assumed the character of a cyclone; about same date a violent hurricane took place at Fiji, when 20.03 inches of rain fell during 19th and 20th, and from 19th to 24th 29.35 inches was recorded. The S. W. gale at Wellington on 5th and 6th appears to have been local. Rainfall excessive throughout. Aurora general on 23rd.
April.—Fine weather in the south-western districts, but stormy and wet elsewhere, with frequent thunder storms, especially at Mongonui, where 3.74 in. fell in 24 hours on 4th, with N. E. wind. Auroras frequent in extreme south.
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May.—Frequent thunder storms and much unsettled weather, prevailing S. W. wind. Atmospheric pressure during the month only slightly above the average, but marked by great steadiness, the only disturbance being on the 3rd and 4th, when a dip of 8/10, lasting for twenty-four hours, was recorded at most stations. Prevalent westerly weather, with excessive rainfall on the western slopes of the Southern Alps. At Bealey, on 4th, 5.56 inches fell in 24 hours.
June.—A marked excess of rainfall in the north, with thunder storms, the temperature and pressure being rather above the average. In the south and west the rainfall was deficient and the weather more seasonable, with sharp frosts, S. E. winds predominating over the whole colony. Aurora on 18th at Southland. Weather severe and unsettled, S. W. storm with very low barometer and thunder generally felt on 16th and 17th.
July.—Month characterized by an abnormal depression of the atmospheric pressure, and constant electric disturbance, especially in the southern part of the colony, and by the prevalence of N. W. winds; the rainfall at Hokitika and Bealey, which are influenced by the Southern Alps, being from this cause greatly in excess of the usual average; while at Christchurch and Dunedin it was below the average. Aurora seen from Wellington on 22n
August.—Season more than usually severe at the western stations, with excessive rainfall on the West Coast. Fine in S. and E., except towards end of month, when stormy weather was general, commencing with thunder. Severe S. W. gale at Auckland on 30th, with heavy rain, also at Wellington from S. E. Strong gale in Southland, with thunder, hail, snow, and rain, on 24th from W. Auroras in south on 18th and 25th.
September.—Stormy at opening and close of month, with heavy snow fall in south. Chiefly remarkable for the high atmospheric pressure that prevailed towards the middle of the month, the maximum throughout the colony on 19th, being the highest on record, 30.6, and following a continuance of fine southerly weather. Temperature below the average. Auroras in south on 4th, 7th and 8th.
October.—Weather throughout generally wet and stormy, with prevailing N. W. wind; rainfall on the whole in excess of average for previous years, especially on West Coast. Temperature and pressure below average. Thunder storms in S. W.
November—Weather excessively dry in extreme north; otherwise rainfall has been generally in excess of average for this month. A very severe S. W. gale occurred at Auckland on 12th and 13th, doing considerable damage; also at Wellington from S. E. on 11th and 12th with very heavy sea; and at Dunedin on 19th, from W.; but winds, on the whole, have been moderate. Aurora at Hokitika on 16th and 20th; at Dunedin and Bealey on 19th; and at Southland on 4th and 7th. Thunder storms in S. W.
December.—Prevailing N. W. weather, with great drought (except on the West Coast of the South Island), damaging the crops. A gale at Wellington on 13th and 14th, though violent, did not affect the pressure, and was local. A remarkable N. W. gale on the 23rd was most severely felt in the south, where it did much damage, during which the pressure was diminished by one
inch, but without rainfall or thunder storms. In Southland the maximum force of the wind reached to 52lbs. on the square foot; in Canterbury it was felt as a hot wind, and at Wellington as a strong dry north-wester, also with sudden fall of barometer. Auroras—Wellington, 9th; Dunedin, 1st and 13th; and Southland on 9th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th.
Inspector of Meteorological Stations.