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Seems like it no longer matters that the equinox brings about unsettled weather, but this year down under in New Zealand the equinox (20-23 March 2022) coincided with severe weather that affected part of the North Island. First up the Auckland and Northland region experienced wild weather including thunderstorms (4000 lightning strikes with more than 700 in the space of 5 minutes); rainfall of 103 mm in 1 hour near Whangarei set a new national hourly rainfall record for a low elevation station (breaking a record of 100.6 mm set in 1966) and extensive flash flooding in Auckland (New Zealand’s largest city). This was then followed with flooding, landslides, road and infrastructure damage on the East Coast of North Island a day or so later. Parts of the region received 450 mm of rain in 48 hours and the region became isolated as the main highways were cut because of bridge collapses and landslides.

It was reported as another 1 in 100 year event in the media. However, for those that live in this region, they have seen several of these in the last few years and are now wondering when the next one will happen and what will the long-term future hold.

Photo credit: Andrew Shelton