Marlborough's contrary August weather: driest for four years, but with more 'wet days'With a very wet start to the month, followed by a cool period, then ending in a dry week with very warm days, Marlborough's August was a variable month.
The wettest day was on August 2 when 15.1mm of rain was recorded - a quarter of the month’s total.
The two weeks that followed brought changeable weather that included rain on many days, but in no great quantity - until August 20's 9.3mm. The rainfall for August totalled 59.3mm, which was 7.3mm below the 33-year average, making it the driest August in Marlborough since 2013.
There were twelve 'wet days' - for meteorologists a 'wet day' is one on which at least one millimetre of rain is recorded. Interestingly, the trend for 'wet days' in August has risen from about nine days in the 1990’s to eleven during the past few years.
Evaporation from ground sources and plant life totalled 72.3mm. This loss of moisture into the atmosphere usually far exceeds the rainfall total in a summer month, but this August it was only 13mm in excess.
The end of the first week felt more like autumn with maxima 6C below the 33-year August average on two days. August 9 was the coolest day in the month at 15.4C.
This summer month redeemed itself with seven consecutive dry days from the August 23-29. The thermometer soared to 27.8C on August 28, the warmest day of the month - some 7C above the long-term average.
The last day of August dawned with the morning feeling like the start of autumn as we experienced the lowest temperature of the month with the thermometer dropping to 6.6C - that's 5C below the August average minimum.
We enjoyed 143.6 hours of strong sunshine, which is down 20 hours on the total for 2016, but is twice the total for the dull August of 2015. There were three glorious days when the sunshine total rose into double figures, the sunniest was 12.29 hours on August 10.
The flip side was the very wet day on August 2 when no sunshine was recorded.
September 1 is meteorologically the first day of autumn - the season close to the heart of George Eliot: “My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns”. We look forward the colourful autumnal displays as the season progresses.
Photo by Eric Gilbert