Drier rest of winter forecast

By Roger Moroney

Hawke's Bay is set for lower than normal late winter rainfall as an El Nino weather system looks likely to turn what had been northeasterly flows into more westerly winds.

But a weather alert released by the MetService yesterday shows the northeasterlies, and their bands of rain, have not finished with the region yet. A moist northeast flow is set to move across the central North Island in the next three days, bringing heavy rain to parts of the Bay and Gisborne tomorrow.

A MetService spokesperson said there was a "moderate" risk that the rain could reach warning levels in some areas.

While rain is still forecast into Thursday, it will begin to ease, with Wairarapa getting a dousing.

In the long term, in its latest seasonal climate outlook, Niwa has forecast normal to below normal average rainfall in all regions, except those in the north and west of the North Island.

A Niwa spokesperson said that, while conditions at the moment were neutral in the tropical Pacific, changing trends in sea temperatures indicated an El Nino was likely to be building by spring.

"Over the July to September period, circulation in the New Zealand region is likely to show a transition from the present northeasterly anomalies of the recent La Nina, towards a westerly flow anomaly by the end of the season."

That would probably equate to less rainfall and, while Bay temperatures are forecast to be average, there is a 35 per cent chance they could be above average into spring.

The last two months of winter in the Bay are not set to hold any nasty surprises, although frosts and snowfalls "typical of winter" are likely "from time to time".

Locals eager for spring's arrival can be buoyed by the sight of trees in early blossom scattered around the district, and that daylight today will linger five minutes longer than it did on the shortest day, June 22.

On the first day of August, the daylight will last for 34 minutes more than it does today.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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