Widespread rain across much of the North Island and some parts of the South Island in the past week hasn’t prevented some areas from continuing to dry out.
Latest information from Niwa shows dry soils in the very Far North, southern Auckland and northern Waikato, coastal Bay of Plenty, and along the coast from Christchurch into north Otago.
Farmers in those areas will want to avoid anything like a repeat of last summer’s extensive dry weather. In March, the Government classified drought conditions as a large-scale adverse event for all the North Island, and the top of the South Island down to north Canterbury, along with the Chatham Islands.
The three months from December 2019 to February 2020 were the driest, or second-driest, on record for parts of Auckland, Northland and Waikato.
* After drought last summer, Northland, Auckland, northern Waikato starting to dry out again
* Three-month climate outlook: some northern, eastern areas likely to be exposed to sub-tropical rainstorms
* Drought conditions in upper North Island rival one of country’s worst droughts on record – NIWA
* Soils get drier in three-quarters of country; problem areas set to expand
During the past week, substantial rain of 50mm or more fell across much of the western and central North Island but Northland and Auckland generally had fewer than 25mm, Niwa said on Friday in its weekly Hotspot Watch.
In the South Island, small parts of Kaikōura, eastern Marlborough, Tasman and Banks Peninsula had 30-60mm of rain in the past week, but most of the South Island had 25mm or less.
In the week ahead, western and southern parts of the North Island could get 30-50mm of rain, while parts of Northland and Auckland may only get 15mm, and possibly less.
In the South Island, some of the most northern areas could get about 40mm but, as with Northland, only 15mm – or less – might fall in southern Canterbury and coastal Otago.
As a result, soils were likely to dry out further in Northland, Auckland, southern Canterbury and coastal Otago, Niwa said.
Some useful rain did fall on Friday, with MetService recording nearly 17mm in Timaru by 4pm, and more than 8mm in Ashburton.
Niwa data shows soils across nearly all the North Island are wetter than at the same time last year. And it’s a similar picture for much of the northwest of the South Island.
But a large swathe of northwest Northland is drier than usual for the time of year, as is northern Waikato, southern Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, and also East Cape.
Soils are drier than usual in much of the South Island, although they are wetter…