It’s been a really busy week offshore, while at home our weather has been unremarkable for both good and bad reasons – as our calm, settled January continued – good for sunseekers but bad for farmers.
It was a lucky escape for some on the USA’s East Coast this week, after a storm the National Weather Service called “potentially historic” was picked to dump 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 centimetres) of snow from northern New Jersey to Connecticut.
A blizzard warning was issued for New York and Boston, and the National Weather Service said the massive storm would bring heavy snow and powerful winds starting Monday and into Tuesday – cancelling thousands of flights to and from the northeast.
Thankfully, the storm eventually missed much of New York and New Jersey, though it did manage to wallop parts of New England on Tuesday.
The storm produced coastal flooding and dropped several feet of snow (including 30 inches in Framingham, Massachusetts, and up to 6-foot drifts statewide), 16 inches of snow in Portland, Maine; over 21 inches in Hudson, New Hampshire; and 28Â½ inches in Orient on New York’s Long Island.
It may have passed most of us by without knowing it, but our planet had a ‘close call’ from an asteroid on Monday this week.
At its closest point from our planet, it was as far off as three times the distance between Earth and the moon, which apparently is close in astronomical terms.
The next time an asteroid of this size is expected to approach Earth is in 2027.
Closer to home now, and there were fireworks across the Tasman in Perth midweek, after a spectacular electrical storm blacked out more than 27,000 homes.
The storms began in the southern suburbs of Perth about 11:00pm on Wednesday and continued throughout Thursday.
Back on the home front, and there have been winners and losers from a hot, dry start to the year – with farmers doing it tough while some retailers struggle to keep up with demand.
Some in the South Canterbury agricultural industry are pushing for further investment in water storage, following a prolonged dry spell in the region that’s seen widespread restrictions placed on irrigation.
Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay, meanwhile, says while more storage is necessary, council funds are out of the question.
“I’m actually of the opinion that the people that use the water in the future are the ones that should pay for it.”
At the other end of the country, cooling fans, paddling pools and ice blocks are the weapons of choice for kiwis looking to battle the scorching temperatures this year – so much so that many retailers are running out of stock.
Minna Reinikkala of Tip Top said classic ice blocks Popsicles and Frujus had been “going gangbusters”.
“As people get out and about they are heading to the dairy or the service station and grabbing [an ice block] they can eat on the go,” she said.
Back in the South Island, Massey University scientists say the dramatic changes to the Fox Glacier are also having effects on the landscape, with the Fox valley rising by more than a metre in the last two years.
Dr Sam McColl and Associate Professor Ian Fuller, from the Institute of Agriculture and Environment, visited the glacier last week to continue their annual survey of the valley floor.
â€œWith this kind of change, we could see the whole valley looking drastically different in a hundred yearsâ€™ time,â€ he says.
And finally, we had some great news for our WeatherWatch.co.nz visitors in Central Otago, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Coromandel Peninsula – which are finally covered by our friends at Weathermap.co.nz.
Aucklanders travelling to Coromandel Peninsula will now have forecast guidance for Whangamata, those in Masterton no longer have to look at Palmerston North and Marlborough has finally been included.
We’ve also included Central Otago – with Alexandra forecasts – to give some extra assistance to growers and farmers especially.
This is adding to an already exciting January, as WeatherWatch.co.nz also has added Beach forecasts – an entirely free service for the New Zealand public covering weather conditions at their favourite beach, including tide times and heights.
Don’t forget to check out your full weekend forecast and outlook with Philip Duncan, here – and it’s looking positive if you’re hoping for rain!
– Drew Chappell, WeatherWatch.co.nz
– Photo: CNN