Bleak and bitter weather expected in the Bay

By Sam Hurley

Heavy rain and a bitter southerly will lash parts of Hawke's Bay leading up to the weekend on the heels of an abnormally warm autumn.

MetService duty forecaster Fulong Lu said Hawke's Bay would today receive periods of morning rain, with some heavy showers but northern areas of the region would receive most of the dumping.

"There will not be much heavy rain after late morning for Napier-Hastings but there will be heavy rain in the northern parts. Wairoa will be exposed to a cold southerly," he said.

The MetService 10-day forecast indicated the southwesterlies would slowly die out towards the end of today but the showers would continue, accompanied by a high of 15C and low of 6C in Napier.

Similar conditions are projected in Hastings with a high of 14C low of 7C.

Tomorrow will bring morning showers to the Bay cities followed by afternoon fine spells, brought on by developing easterlies. A high of 14C and low of 2C is expected in Napier and Hastings.

MetService recorded 22.6mm of rain in Napier on Tuesday, with a peak wind gust of 41km/h and a high temperature of 16C. In Hastings, on the same day, 33.6mm of rain fell and a high of 16C was recorded.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said farmers look forward to the a projected mild winter adding it was great news to have consistent rain.

"I've had 25mm of rain this morning [yesterday] and much of Hawke's Bay has had a minimum of 30mm," he said. "We have had some good grass growth over the last week, in a perfect world we would like the southerlies to go away to keep soil temperatures up."

The northern Hawke's Bay farmer said the record drought was still not officially over and that a quarter of dams and reservoirs were still low.

Lyn McConchie of Farside Farm in the upper Norsewood plateau had received 42mm of rain up to yesterday and said if it kept raining at a constant rate it would break the two-inch barrier, well and truly alleviating any lingering drought conditions.

"Grass growth over the last month or so has been particularly solid," she said. "I've had to run the sheep from paddock to paddock to take it down.

In Dannevirke rain will clear as the southerly eases. A high of only 10C today is forecast with a low of 3C. Morning frost can be expected as the skies clear during the weekend with overnight lows of 0C tomorrow and 1C Saturday.

Meteorology and Remote Sensing principal Scientist Michael Revell said a warm autumn resulted in below-average rainfall with 50 to 80 per cent of normal autumn rainfall for parts of Hawke's Bay, the West Coast of the South Island, inland Canterbury, and Central Otago. Near-normal rainfall totals were observed elsewhere.

It was a wet autumn for parts of Auckland, Waikato, Kapiti Coast, Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman, with almost 150 per cent of normal autumn rainfall.

Above average temperatures, 0.5 to 1.2C above the autumn average, have been recorded by Niwa throughout Hawke's Bay and much of the North Island.

Up to June 1 below normal soil moisture levels for the time of year were observed in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa, as well as around the Queenstown Lakes district. Near normal soil moisture levels were evident elsewhere.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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