Farmers left disappointed by Lusi

By Roger Moroney

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Traffic on SH2 just south of Clive cautiously moved around a fallen tree, which was quickly cleared on Saturday afternoon. Photo/Duncan Brown
Traffic on SH2 just south of Clive cautiously moved around a fallen tree, which was quickly cleared on Saturday afternoon. Photo/Duncan Brown

While most of the Hawke's Bay populace were happy to see Cyclone Lusi make a westward move away during the weekend, the farming fraternity were left shaking their heads.

Authorities spoken to yesterday all agreed the Bay had dodged a bullet - with the predicted heavy rain and high winds failing to emerge - except for some areas of the ranges, and expected high seas also failed to emerge.

However, several said they would have liked to have been winged by the bullet a little.

"Hopes were high we were going to see some significant rain," Hawke's Bay Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay president Will Foley said yesterday as blue skies and easing winds took charge.

"Not enough rain."

While falls were heavy in some high country regions, the areas which needed it, to get autumn growth kicking on for producing winter feed, got barely a sprinkling.

Mr Foley said farmers across the Bay would have been hoping for at least 30mm to "kick things off" but the tail end of the cyclone moved quickly away.

"It's not at the severe stage yet but it is becoming a bit of a worry because we are well into March and April is approaching - we would like to build up a bank of feed for the winter."

The Takapau Plains received 18.8mm of rain on Saturday, while Hastings had 8.4mm and Napier 6mm.

Wairoa recorded just 1.5mm over the 24 hours from 11am Saturday to 11am yesterday.

"We got a wee shower, that's all," Wairoa District Council emergency manager Tim Allan said. "We would have welcomed a mild cyclone coming through because we need the rain."

Mr Allan said that while the hills in the Wairoa region were green, it was little more than surface colour. The soil underneath was bone dry.

Central Hawke's Bay emergency manager Bruce Kitto said he had received no reports of major damage from the winds, which gusted over 60km/h on Saturday.

"There was a bit of strong overnight wind but nothing too bad and I know a lot of farmers were half-pie hoping we'd get maybe 30 to 40mm of rain because we desperately need it."

Mr Kitto said the TukiTuki and Waipawa rivers were well up as "a fair bit" of rain had come down across the high country catchment.

While no major incidents were reported, council clean-up crews did have a bit of work on yesterday, although it was largely confined to cleaning up fallen branches - like in Kennedy Rd, Napier, where palm fronds littered the stretch.

Hastings Fire Service Senior Station Officer Bruno Saathof described the weekend as "unexpectedly quiet" given the initial forecasts.

"We had one or two wind-related calls and a few trees came down," he said.

A Napier Fire Service spokesman said crews there also had a quiet time.

"A couple of trees down but nothing major."

A MetService spokesperson said Cyclone Lusi's exact path had been difficult to forecast as it approached the country on a path which did initially line up Hawke's Bay.

It edged toward a more westerly path however - not exactly the path farmers wanted.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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