Lovely rain and a tinge of green

By Sonya Bateson

Glimmers of green are already appearing in the drought-stricken Bay after a day's rain.

Eight millimetres of rain were recorded at Tauranga Airport by yesterday evening and 30mm in the Kaimai Range, breaking a dry spell lasting weeks.

Federated Farmers provincial president John Scrimgeour said the weekend's rain was "a start".

"We still need a lot more, but it's encouraging.

"There's starting to be glimmers of green happening already. It's amazing how much your perspective changes when you see that."

However, Mr Scrimgeour said farmers still faced tough times ahead.

"Firstly, we need rain in a few days. It will take two to three weeks for grass to be available for stock. Farmers have fed so much of their supplements through summer there's a possibility of feed being short in winter. Some farmers are selling stock at low prices and dairy farmers are drying some of their stock off so incomes will be considerably smaller over coming months."

Mr Scrimgeour estimated the Bay would need 100mm of rain soon.

"The ground has plenty of capacity to fill up a lot more and clearly we need that over a period of time. We just need to get the soil damp again."

Local farmer Stuart Roberts said he was thankful for yesterday's rain and hoped it would continue.

"We've been waiting for it and the day has finally come. We had 9.5mm during the day on Sunday and it's remaining warm as well, which is great."

Mr Roberts predicted he would need 25 to 50mm a day for a couple of days before he would be fully in the clear.

"The forecast says we're not going to get it but it will all help. We just hope that it will continue. We need follow-up and that's the important part."

MetService forecaster Leigh Matheson said showers would be clearing up early this morning, with more rain expected later tonight.

"It will be pretty dry today until the next band comes through at about 6pm this evening. Another period of rain or showers should be passing through and should be clearing early into Tuesday morning. It could be about 5 to 10mm in that band."

Ms Matheson said the rain would quieten down after that band, clearing for the rest of the week.

Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Glenn Saunders said despite the rain hitting dry roads only minor accidents were reported in the Western Bay yesterday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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