The weather pattern around New Zealand may not be dramatic but we’re certainly caught up in a current westerly flow which is bringing one rain band after another.
The rain, which has been heavy in some areas, including Auckland, has been falling across most regions this month and the latest NIWA soil moisture deficit maps show the nation recovering nicely from the droughts earlier this year.
Highs remain mostly over Australia, winter storms remain mostly wrapped around the Antarctic ice shelf and New Zealand is in the middle section where it’s not too windy but not too calm, not too stormy but not too settled.
In Auckland weather systems have been very slow to move – convergence zones (opposing winds meeting) have created some big showers over the past few days (more typical of mid-summer weather) while on Wednesday morning a small but torrential area of rain made for a slow drive to work for commuters for many in the Auckland region. It was gone by mid-morning (back to drizzle and showers) but was isolated to the Auckland area – another example of how the rain has fallen this month, in pieces, region by region. Similar torrential rain arrived around 5pm causing issues for the northern motorway for a time due to surface flooding.
The westerly flow spreading across the country is bringing front after front – and blocking highs are causing the rain to stall over some regions. This has been the pattern for most of the rain events in August – regionalised rain that is slow moving. While one region has rain, the region on the other side of the ranges has sun.
So, are there are any parts of New Zealand that are still very dry and need more rain? The data suggests there aren’t many places – but the data only reflects what weather stations have reported back and we all know our nation’s geography plays a huge part in where our rain falls.
A number of cold fronts have crossed New Zealand in the past few days and the days ahead see more coming too. As for next week? Well August’s final week may end on a fairly average note with a high trying to push in but still showers and sou’westers winning the challenge from time to time.
– Image / File, Whagarei Falls, Paul Herbert
– By head weather analyst Philip Duncan