20 Dec 2017

Wetter weather not really that wet - MetService

8:39 am on 20 December 2017

The country is set to be wetter than average for the next few weeks, but forecasters warn it is unlikely to mean significant rainfall in what is usually a dry period.


Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

A front moved up the country overnight yesterday, reaching Auckland today and dropping some morning rain in the city.

Auckland averages 84mm of rain in December but until today has had just 4.2mm with less than two weeks in the month remaining, and just 16.6mm in the past 30 days.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said most places around the city had seen about 3mm-6mm when the front was moving across between 4am and 7am.

"It's not a huge amount," he said.

It's just one region that's faced a far drier than usual couple of months.

Soil moisture levels were last week still not set to improve, and raising concerns about water supplies in places around the country including Northland, Waiheke, Nelson, Tauranga, Christchurch, Wellington, and Napier.

"In the next two to three weeks we start to move into a period where it's a bit wetter for what we normally see in summer ... probably wetter than average for the month of December."

"For the whole of the country aside from a couple of regions we're looking at a wetter than average couple of weeks."

He warned however that the increased average might not make that much of a difference to parched fields and worried farmers nationwide.

"You have to remember ... that although we're seeing average or wetter than average, January is usually quite a dry month so it's not actually that much rain."

"None of it's really that significant [amounts of rainfall]."

Another ridge of high pressure is also set to hit the country from tomorrow, bringing potentially heavy rain to Fiordland and other parts of Southland and moving up the South Island, before moving across the North Island around Christmas Eve.

However, Mr McInnes said it was uncertain exactly how the front would play out across the country.

"When you look at it, it's really annoyingly placed [for forecasting] because it could move up and make Auckland wet and it could hit the South Island, but it's really hard to say."

"It could be something more complicated, the North and South Island could be wet."

November's extremely dry conditions were partly thanks to warm sea temperatures around the country through mid-November, but Niwa noted La Nina was now making the seas in the South Pacific cooler than average and could bring wetter weather in January.

Meanwhile, Aucklanders who rely on their own water tanks are on their own if they run dry this summer.

The city council and Watercare have said it's not their responsibility, but water tanker companies said there were delays of up to four weeks for deliveries.

Fiona Roland family of five in Woodhill is relying on a 23,000-litre tank to keep going, but it was only a quarter full.

She said the household had gone several months with no serious rain.

"I've actually just today made some inquiries but 22nd to the 25th of January is the backlog.

"I've heard that if you're willing to pay a bit more, you can actually get it delivered sooner but i'll be just being careful until I can get a delivery made unless it rains."

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