Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Downpour offers farmers brief respite

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WON'T LAST: Wet weather hammered the Bay of Plenty yesterday.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
WON'T LAST: Wet weather hammered the Bay of Plenty yesterday.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

Friday's wet weather will do little to offset the dry conditions resulting from extremely low rainfall last month, forecasters say.

Figures from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research show rainfall in Te Puke hit a record low last month.

Niwa principal scientist Chris Brandolino said the 20mm of rainfall recorded for Te Puke in December was the least amount of rain recorded for the month of December since records began in 1973.

Tauranga also recorded its fourth lowest rainfall at 18mm for the month of December.

The lack of rain came from the El Nino weather patterns, he said.

The combined effects of the lower air pressure and south west winds caused the dryer El Nino weather with the lower rainfall patterns, he said.

Despite Friday's wet weather, holidaymakers in the Bay of Plenty would largely experience fine weather for the rest of January.

"There's a lot of high pressure coming in. There's not much rain at all; it's pretty dry," WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said.

"There could be a few north-easterly showers in maybe a week's time. Other than that, locals and visitors to the region should be able to comfortably get out and about."

Metservice meteorologist Lisa Murray said the downpour on Friday, about 16mm of rain, would not curb the affects of December's dry spell.

Rainfall was needed at least once a week to keep farmers happy, she said.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers president Rick Powdrell said Friday's rain was welcomed by farmers.

"This was perfect, we need to keep getting follow ups like this. You never know what you are going to get with El Nino.

"We just get enough rain to keep us going, he said.

Niwa predicted dry, settled weather in the Bay in its latest outlook, with average summer temperatures and below average rainfall until February.

Last January, Niwa recorded a mean air temperature of 21.2C in Tauranga - the second highest mean January temperature for the city since records began in 1913.

Meanwhile, 328 sunshine hours were recorded in the city, which was also the second highest on record.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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