2 Feb 2015

Storms forecast for drought-stricken Otago

6:13 pm on 2 February 2015

Summer thunderstorms with rain and hail are on the way for drought-stricken Otago.

Drought conditions in mid-Canterbury, January 2015

Otago also received some rain last night but Canterbury (pictured) almost completely missed out. Photo: Jeremy Talbot

MetService is expecting thunderstorms for the eastern, southern and northern parts of Otago as well as Southland.

Meanwhile, further north, weather watches are in place for the Tararua Ranges and Mount Taranaki, where conditions are also dry.

Severe weather forecaster Heath Gullery said the rain would be a welcome relief but people outdoors still needed to take care.

"These thunderstorms will be very localised. If you happen to get caught in one, it's likely to be perhaps 10-25 millimetres per hour. If a thunderstorm is severe, again it will be very localised, but you may see a downpour of 25-40 millimetres per hour."

Otago, which is facing its worst drought conditions in more than 15 years, also received some rain last night but Canterbury, which is even drier, almost completely missed out.

MetService forecaster John Law said only 7mm of rain fell on Canterbury.

Mr Law said earlier today that there were severe weather warnings in other parts of the country.

"The wetter weather we've got at the moment is good for the likes of, say, the far north," he said.

"But even here, we've got some heavier falls and some severe weather warnings out for the likes of say, northern Taranaki. Also down through Westland and Fiordland and central parts of the high country of the North Island as well - but on the eastern side of the South Island, still plenty of dry weather through there."

He said there was some respite for farmers with the weather forecast to bring cooler temperatures and some rain by the end of the week.