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PLUS:  Hot Nights Return
AND:  More Dangerous Rips and Waves
For the first time in history the Waikato region has been officially declared a drought zone following an intensely dry summer.  Just a few mm’s of rain has fallen since December with the large dairy farming district looking more like Central Otago.  TRN Head Weather Analyst and ex-Waikato resident Philip Duncan says significant rain may still be a way off yet.  “Unfortunately La Nina means more easterlies and not only do they dry the farms out, but the much needed rain they bring falls on the Bay of Plenty side of the Kaimai Ranges”. 
“I grew up in Waikato and even in summer it usually has farm after farm full of green grass.  To see everything so brown and lacking colour is just devastating”.
But Mr Duncan says despite little rain being in the forecast weather patterns are showing slight signs of change with perhaps an indication of a shift towards more Autumn-like weather.  “At this moment there are a number of small lows developing across the entire length of Tasman Sea, this is the first time this has happened in months.  Sunday and Monday look as though there’ll be showery but it certainly won’t be a drought breaker, with another high forming by mid next week”.  
“Despite that, long range models show the highs over New Zealand losing a bit of strength and an increase in Tasman sea lows developing.  My advice to farmers is to stay optimistic and to try and be positive because a slight change in the weather pattern is better than no change at all.  We could be seeing rain bearing fronts developing in just a few weeks time if this pattern continues to change”.
Weather.Com is forecasting a 60% chance of showers on Sunday, 20% on Monday and 10% on Wednesday, while MetService is forecasting “Rain or drizzle” on Monday and Tuesday.  Duncan says it’s hard to tell who is more accurate but the one thing both forecasts have in common is that a significant amount of precipitation is not expected this time around.
The cold nights that have seen New Zealanders closing bedroom windows this week are coming to an end tonight.  A cold front on Monday night brought a pool of cooler air from the Southern Ocean and has kept overnight temperatures much lower, with single digits being recorded in many regions.  “As these Tasman Sea lows form we’ll see a return to more humid northerlies, that means sticky restless nights in the north, and milder nights in the South”.
Meanwhile ex-Tropical Cyclone Gene is creating potentially life threatening waves and rips along the country’s east coast.  “From East Cape to Wairarapa big seas means swimming and boating is extremely dangerous for the next few days”.  Duncan says the wild seas will spread to the South Island’s East Coast this weekend with conditions easing the further south you are.   “People need to be aware just how dangerous this surf is, even if weather conditions on the beach are calm and sunny”.



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