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Developing: Extended dry spell moving in

For some parts of New Zealand an extended dry spell will sound like great news, but for a number of people the prediction of little to no rain for the rest of January will be worrisome says

Rain has been frequent around the West Coast, Southland and even in some western parts of the North Island – however from Hawkes Bay through to Waikato, and now Auckland and parts of Northland, the big dry is setting in.

There are numerous other dry regions too, however it’s the top half of the North Island that is now drying out considerably, including out biggest city Auckland.

According to Water Care Services in Auckland most of the city’s water storage lakes are between 25 and 50% full – and no significant rain is in the current forecast for possibly the next 14 days. analyst Philip Duncan says at this time of year sou’west fronts rarely bring much rain north of Taranaki.   “Some people have had false hope based on other forecasts that rain or plenty of showers would arrive this week – but as most farmers in the north know, we need a tropical low to fix the dry problems in – a sou’west front often runs out of steam in summer north of Taranaki”

Auckland has received little rain in January – stark contrast from a wet, humid, tropical spell in December.

Long range models used and trusted by indicate little in the way of rain for the northern half of the North Island for the rest of January. 

Of course the silver lining will be for camping grounds and holidaymakers – with more sun and less wind and rain in the forecast.

And long range models also indicate a potentially settled Auckland Anniversary Weekend too. 

Not all of New Zealand is in for a dry second half of January.  “Unfortunately for those in Southland, Otago and the West Coast – and perhaps Canterbury to some degree – this unsettled spring pattern just won’t quit.  I wish we could fix it but all we can do is forecast it” says Mr Duncan.

However the unsettled weather pattern has also helped give Canterbury numerous 30 degree days this summer due to the windy nor’westers.




sw on 18/01/2013 4:46am

Just because its dry doesnt mean a good summer,as its often not quality when is dry,continous wind runs are worse than rain.

Andrew on 17/01/2013 8:32pm

Isn’t it amazing how 3 weeks after a wet December the water levels are getting low in our major city. That says one of two things to me – either it’s been mis-managed, or the capture and storage of water isn’t adequate.
NZ isn’t a dry country and doesn’t support a large population. How can this happen in a matter of weeks?

Guest on 17/01/2013 10:45pm

Agreed – it *would* be a bit of a worry if this were true… And yet, the WaterCare website indicates current storage levels at 82%, compared with the usual rate of 85% for this time of year, with individual storage systems ranging from 50-98%.
The website has always been correct and up to date (and according to WaterCare remains so), so I’m not quite sure which spokesperson WeatherWatch has been talking to…?!

Richard Fitzpatrick on 17/01/2013 7:39pm

It seems that a dry, hot summer is number one on Aucklanders ‘weather wish list’. It will be interesting to understand the consequences if Northland,Auckland,Waikato and BOP receive little rain in Feb and March which are traditionally dry months. Maybe you could write an article on what consitutes drought conditions. Thanks for the great articles WeatherWatch!

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