Urgent need for heavy rain

By Imran Ali

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Northland will be in dire straits if significant rain does not fall in the next six weeks, a weather forecaster has warned.


No rain is forecast for the next 10 days and the Northland Regional Council said the situation seemed likely to be a continuation of anticyclonic weather, with occasional showers.


Weatherwatch analyst Philip Duncan said the region sat on a "rain borderline" which meant any weather pattern that brought rain mostly moved south of Northland.


Western Northland, he said, mostly benefited from rain bands but only in the form of patchy showers.


River flows are a little healthier but are likely to be back to last week's levels by tomorrow, with no rain predicted in the next 10 days.


Mangakawakawa and Mangamuka received the most rain between March 13 and 18, 42.5mm, followed by Whangaroa/Kaeo at 37.5mm.


However, Marsden Pt had the least at only 2.5mm, while Wilsons' Dam in Ruakaka received 5mm of rain.


Between 15 and 20mm of rain fell in the Bay of Islands, up to 15mm in Kaikohe and Hokianga-Pouto and between 2.5mm and 10mm in Whangarei and Bream Bay.


Only eight out of 46 centres for which the regional council obtained rainfall figures recorded 20mm of rain or more.


Mr Duncan said Northland had seen the most of last weekend's rain band but another was expected in the next couple of weeks.


"Northland sits just on the outer edges of the main rain band that benefits Auckland and Waikato and further south.


It's frustratingly close but it's not for the top of the North Island."


He said farmers needed to be made aware of borderline rain so that they didn't get their hopes high for a heavy deluge.


Mr Duncan said the high humidity level experienced in the last few days was due to Cyclone Sandra. Cyclones pulled down rich moist air from the tropics but the humidity levels were expected to drop last night and be gone by today.


However, he said easterlies forecast for this week should bring the humidity back.


Follow-up rain was needed in the next 10 days otherwise most of the water from last weekend's showers would evaporate, leaving the ground dry.


Mr Duncan said 20mm of rain would made a big impact in the short term for Northland but a heavy downpour was needed in the next six weeks.


The temperature in Whangarei mid afternoon yesterday was 27C - the highest of all major centres in Northland.

 

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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