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Farmers v Townies – & the weatherman is stuck in the middle

“Thank you WeatherWatch, bang on, it’s pouring with rain here today!” versus “Damn you WeatherWatch, I got soaked walking to work”. 

Once again forecasters have the delicate balancing act of talking about the rain – and just like at the start of this year many either love it or hate it.

Farmers, growers, gardeners and those on rain water or wells have an accute sense of when things are drying out – well before weather forecasters and weather maps start to mention it.   In the same way that city motorists know where not to drive on the roads at certain times of the day, those in rural areas have a sense of when water needs to be conserved at certain times of the year – and lately that has been the case in northern areas.

Rain last week and this week has been patchy – not widespread across entire regions even.  However the downpours have been intense and have significantly boosted water levels in areas that needed it most.

The downpours will ease by Friday when a new system in the southern Tasman Sea moves in closer.  This will bring showers to western and southern areas and rain to the West Coast.

Next week – and possibly the week after – may be drier for many regions. will continue to update you on possible lows – so you can either plan when to water your garden – or perhaps which day is the best day to go to the beach with the fam!

– Image / Zelda Wynn



Zeb A. on 5/12/2013 6:14pm

Seriously? People are blaming the weatherman!?

Now I have this vision of Philip doing rain dances 😛

I’m a city gal, and, LOVE the rain! Not just because my gardens need it, but so do the animals and insects. So do we. I always feel so much more refreshened after a good rainstorm, regardless of whether I got caught in it or not.

And there is nothing more soothing than the sound of the rain drumming on the roof. 🙂

Guest on 5/12/2013 8:23am

Have to say that I love westerly rain and humidity down from the north is a treat here now. You want to try orographic polar storm rain … 

When I hear moans about forecasters because some poor little soul was caught in an Auckland shower, it grates me. Where I live we are a fair way down the road with orographic climate change, right to the stage of violent and well below 0C SE orographic storms with their bases sweeping us at ground level, caused by the polar updrafts on the hills. You haven’t experienced a storm with cold and violence until they hit you, diabolical things are worse than a CB, and make a thunderstorm’s violence look pfft. Last one I was caught outside in, I went and hid underneath stairs, crouched right down, that’s how bad they are. Any precipitation from them stings and burns your skin as it is so bitingly cold, with raging wind well >100 km/h. The explosive ones that rotate are downright frightening. That is precipitation to moan about, it is far worse than the cold rain from snow clouds, ad so is the driving sleet. With NIWA helping warnings will get better for us now.  And we used to have a mild lee sheltered climate, but that is long gone, with the W/SW being the latest Sthrn Alps trouble maker. If you are hit by warm rain, enjoy it. Could it be that the problems in Akld are being caused by Climate Change making its presence felt? I wouldn’t mind betting that it is.  

(sgd) A member of Wellington’s Orographic Climate

Guest on 4/12/2013 9:50pm

hi WW, love your work but I don’t quite understand the % chance of precipitation thing. The last couple of days it has been actually raining in Auckland, but still the weather forecast said 80% chance. This is what it said last night but I would have bet my life savings that there would be rain on the way to work this morning, and there was. Why not just put 100% chance of rain? Does the percentage actually reflect the severity of the predicted rain, e.g 60% chance of rain is lighter rain than 80%?

WW Forecast Team on 5/12/2013 1:00am

Hi there – basically the % relates to the chance of rain across the entire region.  Even if the entire city has rain it doesn’t mean our confidence is 100%.  This week the front has been patchy – so we avoid 100% unless we know all of Auckland is in for a wet day.  90% of Auckland had a soaking but there were some areas that didn’t get as much.  Basically anything over 70% is high and means most places will get wet.  Anything 60% and below is far more isolated – or less intense overall. The higher the confidence usually the heavier and more widespread the rain will be across not only Auckland but most of the upper North Island. If you look at today’s rain maps or radar you’ll see how fine the line is between rain and dry around northern NZ which is why the chance of rain is slipping now.


Guest on 4/12/2013 8:29pm

When I want rain and it’s fine I cus, but not the weatherman. When I want sunshine and it rains I cus, but not the weatherman. It’s just the way it is sometimes.

Keep up the good work guys, because the forecasts are better now than they ever have been.

WW Forecast Team on 5/12/2013 1:06am

Nicely said!  And thanks for the kind words – our confidence levels were certainly boosted this year after an endorsement from the CEO of NIWA and also the Ministry for Primary Industries hiring us over M/S for rain predictions during the drought.  We are now using what they liked most about us and are pushing that strength.  While there is always room for improvement it’s heartening to hear you feel the forecasts are better than ever – trust me, we are always working hard to improve our accuracy, I’m personally never happy enough with accuracy – in other words, just being better than our competition isn’t enough – we always have to do better!


Guest on 5/12/2013 6:54am

MS doesn’t do climate forecasts, NIWA do.  Perhaps that was the reason?

Guest on 4/12/2013 7:22pm

you WeatherWatch, I got soaked walking to work”. 

To whomever wrote this…… GO BUY A RAIN

I wear a when it is too sunny.

with love,


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