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NZ has two types of droughts going on – One is easing but the other is not (+5 Maps)

More rain is coming and as forecast last week these rain events will be ending many of the soil moisture droughts we’ve seen across 2020. But we’re not out of the woods.

New Zealand has two types of drought right now. 1) The soil moisture levels on the top of the ground, that helps spike grass and plant growth. 2) The underground aquifers that hold water, especially useful during the longe hot dry months of summer.

The first option, soil moisture, is being fixed in most (not all) places and with more rain with sub-tropical connections coming this week it makes it hard to find locations that don’t have a wet ground. In fact the warmer than normal Autumn and Winter in the upper North Island is leading to pasture growth even right now – during the shortest days of the year.

But the second option – wow, that has a long way to go before being fixed. Many, many, farmers have contacted us over the past few months to let us know how much of a rainfall deficit they are in. Some are over half a metre of rain (500mm) below where they should be…and keep in mind this rainfall deficit didn’t start in 2020 – it started in early 2019.

Balancing the rainfall books will be a much harder job – too much of it and we get floods and farms and growing paddocks turn to mud. Too little and our spring and summer ahead may be tougher – and more expensive to buy some fruits and vegetables.

The forecast this week has been a very positive one for farmers and growers – with the added warmth in the north giving some additional winter pasture growth.

Heavy frosts in the South Island are stopping this – but the good news for the eastern South Island is wet weather may be coming your way too with a southerly flow kicking in from this weekend bringing days of showers.


Blue: Wetter than average, White: Usual rainfall, Red: Drier than normal
You can now find these NIWA Soil Moisture (tax funded) maps at the bottom of the homepage!

See more data and more graphs by visiting New Zealand’s largest (by far!) weather data website for your specific part of NZ –


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