Prepare for a warmer, wet winter

By Sam Hurley, Lawrence Gullery

Hawke's Bay can expect above-average temperatures for the rest of June and the next two months, mixed in with above-normal rainfall restoring river levels.

The forecast comes from Hawke's Bay Regional Council's State of our Environment report, which has suggested warmer temperatures will continue into the final months of winter.

The report's summary for May showed maximum temperatures were near normal but minimum temperatures were slightly above normal.

The highest daily temperature for May was 24.8C, recorded at Te Pohue and the lowest was -6.7C at Taharua, north-west Hawke's Bay.

Rainfall was considered to be "near normal" although May was the ninth month in a row of below-average readings.

Waikaremoana recorded 103 per cent of its normal May rainfall, over a 30-year average. Ruahine Ranges was the lowest with 76 per cent and the average for the region was 86 per cent.

The nine months of consecutive low rainfall meant below normal river flows.

The region achieved an average of just 36 per cent of normal flow across the region's rivers.

The Mohaka River had the highest flow but was still at 54 per cent of normal flow for May. The Tukituki River was the lowest with just 23 per cent.

Ministry of Primary Industries policy staff Gillian Mangin and Annette Carey said pasture growth rates during May had been excellent in many parts of the region thanks to warm weather with "good responses to nitrogen fertiliser on the better country".

"For those in areas most affected by drought, pasture growth has been less spectacular due to the patchy nature of the recovering sward."

The light rain which fell over May had been "light and steady" soaking in rather than replenishing dams and lifting river levels.

"Farmers will be hoping that the cold snap that brought frosts at the end of May will give way to warmer weather with occasional rain, allowing pasture growth to continue as long as possible before winter really sets in."

The regional council planned to release an in-depth report on the region's recreational water quality for the 2012/13 summer in July.

Today's MetService forecast for Napier and Hastings suggests the weekend's rain will clear, with fine spells developing later in the day. Northerlies will also bring some of the predicted warmer weather with a high of 19C and an overnight low of 12C in Napier and 11C in Hastings.

Tomorrow's weather will be mainly fine with high cloud. Northerly breezes will continue to keep the temperature at 19C in Napier and Hastings.

MetService says Thursday will bring a cold wintry southerly, with possibly heavy rain. A high of just 13C is expected in the twin cities with a bitter low of 3C in Napier and 2C in Hastings.

Friday is expected to be one of the coldest of the year, in an otherwise mild winter, as the southerly reaches its peak. A rainy, icy high of 9C is expected for Napier and Hastings with an overnight low of 1C. The overnight temperatures will remain barely above freezing over the weekend before the brisk southerly dies down. Heavy rain and strong winds slowed traffic near the Pakowhai Rd and Ruahapia Rd intersection, after a tree fell onto the road. Police worked to clear the blocked road last night. There were no injuries or damage.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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