If there’s one word that could sum up the weather pattern for the first quarter of 2013, apart from ‘dry’, it might be “lazy”. The highs were slow and continuous. The rain makers were rare and short lived. Not very much happened in our skies.
But when we told the Government’s Ministry for Primary Industries in our March drought report that rain makers were returning we used a different word – ‘active’. Around mid March the first in a series of lows started to push in and our weather pattern finally woke up from its long slumber.
These days the highs have clearly backed off and the rainmakers are dominating more and more.
In fact, we’re now seeing evidence of a two week rain pattern. Every two weeks a significant or sizeable low pressure system is crossing New Zealand bringing periods of very heavy rain to some, mainly the north and west.
While the north continues to feel March-like temperatures the warmth is also helping produce very heavy localised rain.
So our weather pattern is becoming far more active or busier. We can expect, roughly every two weeks, to see a decent low pressure system moving in bringing rain.
No signs yet of a major shift away from this warm weather in the north – it’s hard to believe the shortest day of the year is just over a month away. How surreal is that when overnight lows are still mostly in the teens in the north and daytime highs are making it into the low to mid 20s at times.
This will gradually ease back – then suddenly winter might hit. Keep in mind this warmth is a bit “false” for this time of the year. So in the same way that closed curtains block out the sun, the current weather pattern is blocking out the wintry cold from covering the entire country. All it will take is one big low and suddenly we’re into the real cold.
But for now, the nation is mostly warm – despite the cold change for many South Island regions – and we’re getting wetter and wetter everyday. If only more of it was falling in central and southern Hawkes Bay where it’s still needed the most.
– homepage image / File, Hayley Moulson
– Column by head weather analyst Philip Duncan