Weather & Climate Situated in Westland, Hokitika experiences a "maritime" climate predominantly influenced by a continuous succession of cyclonic and anti-cyclonic weather systems associated with the northern fringe of the Southern Hemisphere's "roaring forties" westerly trade winds. But for the countermanding influence of warm ocean currents in the Tasman Sea and the air damming effect of the 2,500 to over 3,000 metre high Southern Alps, Hokitika's climate might be persistently cool to cold, predominantly wet and almost continuously windy. Contrary to simplistic assumptions, Hokitika enjoys a mild climate, relatively high annual average bright sunshine hours, surprisingly few actual "wet" days and it is one of the least windy locations in New Zealand. While it is undeniably true that rainfall on the South Island West Coast is high, it commonly occurs in heavy bursts followed by fine weather. Sunshine: Hokitika annually experiences about; 200 fine days each year (With an annual average sunshine duration of 1,850 hours Hokitika experiences about 200 hours per annum less annual sunshine than Alexandra, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, and; About; 125 hours more annual sunshine than Palmerston North; 30 hours more annual sunshine than Timaru; 250 hours more annual sunshine than Invercargill; 270 hours more annual sunshine than Dunedin) Rain: 85 days are experienced as a mix of fine spells and passing showers; But only 80 days are predominantly wet (see note 1). Wind: The air damming effect of the Southern Alps that causes westerly air to rise and form Canterbury's infamous hot and sometimes destructive "norwesters" protects Hokitika and Westland from the normal velocities of the wind that would otherwise blow more strongly from off the Tasman Sea. Lack of Very Cold Conditions: Cold southerly weather systems are also disrupted by the Southern Alps. In lowland Westland snowfall is a comparatively rare event with snow settling in Hokitika something like 4 times since the 1930s. Weather Disruption to Aviation (CHECK): Airport disruption due to high wind does not occur / is very rare. Airport operations due to low ceiling / low visibility events amount to an average of about ____ events per annum, with very few whole day closures (source Air NZ Link). Notes: 1 The Metservice website http://www.metservice.com/public/learning/summary-climate.html shows wet days as days when 24 hour rainfall has exceeded 1.0 mm. For a location that experiences almost 3 metres of annual rainfall and sunshine hours in excess of 1,850 per annum, it stands to reason that a millimetre of rain might not take very long to fall, so it follows that the Metservice criterion for a rain day is unfavourable weighted against Westland locations. The 80 annual wet days statistic, obtained from Mark Crompton, of West Weather at Hokitika Airport, is suggested as a fairer statistic for comparison with low rainfall sites, where it can take considerably longer to accumulate a millimetre of precipitation.