Rain or Showers

We had an enquiry from an astute member of the public asking about the comings and goings of rain.   They had noticed that in southerly weather the rain has a tendency to "come in bands (e.g., 20 minutes rain, 20 mins dry, 20 mins rain etc.) rather than as a more constant rain that comes with northerlies". They were wondering why this was. This is a good question and I will try to answer it here.  

A Lot of Rain

There was a lot of rain in many parts of New Zealand over the last two weeks of May 2010. One of the few places to escape this was the sunny West Coast of South Island - the days are clear and stunning there when the flow is southeasterly. If you had been following the surface weather maps during May you would have noticed a lot of low pressure over the Tasman Sea and northern NZ, and periods of relatively high pressure farther south.

It must have been an insightful man...

It must have been an insightful man who decided to build the new meteorological office on the end of the ridge above the Botanical Gardens. If you are lucky you can observe some beautiful meteorology from the roof of the building. The Director at the time, Dr John Gabities, probably had a big say in the matter. Being a meteorologist himself, he would have appreciated the value of that siting.  At lunch time on Friday (22 January 2010), I was on the roof and noticed a little drama unfolding on the harbour and took a photo with my cell phone.