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Rain in eastern New Zealand “a game changer”

As many forecasters and news outlets zero in on the negative side of the rain is being told by farmers across the country that the recent rains have been fantastic – and even as far south as North Canterbury, which has missed nearly every significant rain event this year…until this week.

We farm at One Tree Hill Leader Valley Parnassus North Canterbury” Andrew Harris told this morning.  “Really enjoying the easterly rain. Since Saturday we have received 80mm of steady rain over 5 days. It’s a game changer on top of what we have received over the last month”.

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says across this year has been saying people should avoid the sensational headlines about El Nino because New Zealand’s weather pattern is almost always chaotic and changeable – meaning even with all the talk of the worst drought since the 90s we are actually looking at a wet start to spring.  “El Nino certainly encourages droughts and drier than usual weather patterns for our east coast and inland, however it’s important to not lose sight of the fact we are two small mountainous islands between the roaring 40s and the sub-tropics – anything can happen”.

Mr Harris of North Canterbury told WeatherWatch today “If this is El Nino bring it on. Light to medium drizzle and come in again this morning. Our dams are filling as well”.

But says the current easterly flow around New Zealand is a bit unusual for late September, especially in an El Nino September.  “In other words, this wet easterly is the odd one out – so a drier, westerly, pattern should return in October. But for while, many farmers can perhaps rest a bit easier knowing there’s a lot more moisture in the ground and water tanks heading in to our driest half of the year”.

Wednesday was the spring equinox – meaning New Zealand is now sliding into Summer with days longer than nights from now on.

Philip Duncan, who also presents a 10 minute rural specific forecast each weekday to farmers on CountryTV (Sky channel 081), says the two driest areas in New Zealand lately have been Hawkes Bay and parts of Canterbury.  “Our farming viewers are sharing one theme with us this spring – it’s a wet one for many, or, the big dry has started to ease”.

Meanwhile Hawkes Bay continues to see more rain falling. Taradale resident Alan Frame told this morning that up to 7:30 Thursday, from yesterday, he had recorded 51mm rain. “This is on top of the 105mm in the first round” he wrote.

The long range forecast for the next 6 months is still one that could see a ‘big dry’ develop this summer in New Zealand – but as has been saying for almost two full years now, we need to be tracking closely what is currently happening around NZ before we get too focused on several months from now.


– Image / File, Kerry Payne

– exclusive


Derek on 24/09/2015 1:55am

Excellent article Phil, really gives the facts and correct information of the situation. This is why I come to WW for weather info, it is straight up with no drama.


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