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BLOG: 2011 – A long, long year

Philip Duncan looks back at 2011 and talks about the year ahead — At the end of every year you’ll see news stories about the weather over the past 12 months, and just about everytime the headline says something along the lines of “A year of extremes”.  Thing is, our everyday weather is made up of extreme weather events – it’s whether or not we have had more extreme events this year than average.   My feeling is that we haven’t. 

That’s not to dimiss the severity of some events – like Cyclone Wilma across northern New Zealand at the start of the year which caused $25 million dollars in damage.  Or the numerous damaging tornadoes across the country.  Then there were the Hawkes Bay floods, the Nelson floods and of course the big Antarctic snow storm in August.

They were all extremes – but there were big gaps of quiet weather in between – and up until the Nelson floods yesterday, we hadn’t really seen anything too severe since August.

And no region appears to have been “picked on” – by that I mean relentless storm after storm hitting one place all year, or even for half a year. 

But I’ll admit 2011 has been a very long year.  New Zealand hasn’t had it’s fair share of natural disasters – we’ve had too many.  The main one being earthquakes.  We’ve also had ash clouds, even tsunamis – albeit small.

This year has also been a bit tough with our sometimes public challenges of the rain radar network.  But now that it’s been resolved we gain better focus on our own products and can start putting into action some of the ideas you’ve been coming up with – like looking into Apps, better layout of some pages and a stronger regional focus.

2012 is going to be a significant and positive year of growth for the WeatherWatch brand. 

The ratings for our website have shot up this year – but with that growth comes added responsibility. 

So we will continue to work very positively with NIWA, Civil Defence, GeoNet and with MetService around warnings.

This year I’ll be spending Christmas Day with my family.  The grandmother, the parents, the brothers, their partners and my neices, nephews and my crazy golden retriever Harry.  (I’m aware pets take after their owners). I also have plans to eat more than I should, do as little physical work as possible and to watch as many Christmas Day comedies as humanly possible. 

I’ve also opted to work Christmas Day this year – because at the risk of sounding a bit sappy, I feel like has an online family now too.  It doesn’t feel like work to post a few updates on what is traditionally a quiet day for most and to say Merry Christmas to those of you who are also online that day.

Finally, to those in Christchurch, I appreciate Christmas this year may be a bit tougher than previous years.  Some still have no homes.  Some don’t have jobs.  Others have lost love ones.  We hope the spirit of Christmas still finds you – and I know that many people across the country will be thinking of you.

So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all – and thank you all for your amazing support this year.

– Philip Duncan


Melissa on 16/12/2011 10:52pm

Merry Christmas Weather Watch Team, let’s hope 2012 is better for us all.
Sooooo looking forward to seeing santa on the santa tracker on xmas eve! And so is my niece Jessica!
As for xmas day comedies the Vicar of Dibley is my fav, also the Goodies (remember them?) Love all the ozzy made movies “Kenny” being a great one, about a man running a portaloo business (depending on you sense of humour!) as it is different!

Kelly on 16/12/2011 12:36pm

Thanks for your awesomeness Phil! You are quite possibly the best thing ever to happen to Kiwi Weather. You are informative, professional, down to earth and keep it real so that everyone and anyone can understand what’s going on.
Have a great xmas and we continue to look forward to your updates.

Danielle on 18/12/2011 11:42am


Guest on 16/12/2011 10:08am

Merry xmas and thanks for all the hard work u guys put in

Sue on 16/12/2011 4:07am

HI Phil and the Team

A very merry xmas and happy new year to you all and of course a big thank you.


Andrew on 16/12/2011 2:00am

I agree with the number of severe events. Outside of the August snow there’s been nothing too out of the ordinary except for isolated pockets – Nelson’s record rain being one.
I look forward to the end of year write ups as well. Especially the ‘Year of Extremes’ headline that alway pops up, as you mentioned. They tend to mention droughts in summer, snow in winter and wind in autumn like it’s never been experienced before.

Scott on 16/12/2011 1:38am

And from a rainy Christchurch atm Merry Christmas to everyone at Weather Watch, you guys have done a fantastic job through out the year. All I want for the next year is no natural disasters 🙂
Keep on the fantastic job 🙂

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