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Something big needs to happen or droughts will develop in parts of NZ (+6 Maps)

It’s not a headline we enjoy writing, nor is it easy to talk about – but unless something major changes in New Zealand’s weather patterns droughts may very well form in parts of the country, especially the east, as we head into 2018.

New Zealand is becoming exceptionally dry in some regions and with the hottest time of the year still two to three months away many are asking us “When will things change?”.

Wellington is running low on water, as is Napier. Some other regions that had a very wet autumn and winter have now had no rain in a month.

It’s critically important to remember we’re a small country and that singular events (like a big low, or a big high) can affect our monthly totals in significant ways. In other words we can be OPTIMISTIC that rain makers will eventually push through this stubborn belt of high pressure and bring relief. The big question is when?

Now might be a great time to chat with other farmers and growers you know around the country – as with previous big dry events conditions were made easier when a burden is shared. In the coming week(s) we’ll be talking with the Minister for Primary Industries even further and will do our best to ensure we cover both the forecasts but also ensure you know who to talk to should you need some support. These dry events can be blimmin tough when it’s making your business struggle. We’re all here to help – if you’re worried you can reach out to us with your questions – or many others on social media (Like our @WeatherWatchNZ Twitter page for example).

In saying that, we also need to be honest about what we’re dealing with here. We’ve said since October this summer could see pockets of big dry events mixed in with flood events. The warmer than usual sea temperatures around the country can help create rain and La Nina can produce more tropical lows. As we’ve seen recently the daytime deluges can cause flash flooding…perhaps the best example yet of how we can have dry, hot, 30 degrees weather and then have a localised flood event.


Yes and no. The West Coast of the South Island is likely to get decent rainfall for 3 days around this weekend. But little will spillover elsewhere. This same front will cross the North Island on Sunday PM and will be weakening further and further as it does so (as it’s running into high pressure). There will be some wet weather in the North Island but we do expect this band of rain to weaken quite a bit. Hit and miss.

The next chance for rain will be later next week, around Dec 14 and 15 where we do see a chance for downpours again on the West Coast. has seen a number of models hinting at a possible low forming around the NZ area around these dates – but surrounded by high pressure. In other words, we may find there’s a small zone of decent rain – but whether it crosses our driest regions is unknown yet.

There are some signs of a cold front and low in the Southern Tasman Sea area in the week before Christmas. Again this bodes well for rain on the West Coast but it’s too far out to know if it could spread into the North Island or the very dry east coast.


  • Unseasonably hot and persistently dry conditions (which has been for weeks inland) will persist until this weekend, as the high pressure covering the entire country gradually moves to east. 
  • Tuesday and Wednesday the southern half of the South Island will be a bit cloudy and the rest of the country is mostly clear, except Auckland and Bay of Plenty areas where some low cloud is likely to persist at times (especially morning).  
  • It will be mostly sunny on Thursday throughout the country. There is some chance of stray rain shower possibly with lightning over mountainous areas in the North Island. 
  • The dry spell will END on the West Coast late on Friday as a cold front arrives and brings heavy rain in. A little may spillover into Southland, but nothing significant.
  • On the other hand, the east side of the South Island will be mostly sunny and even hotter than the previous day. The maximum temperature in Christchurch is forecast to reach 30C with highs in the mid 30s inland.


– InfoGraphics by The Weather Company (an IBM business and an Official business partner)



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