Weather Watch

Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Weather Watch: NZ left high and dry

6 comments
Figures released by NIWA this month show that Northland is even drier than it was at this time last year. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Figures released by NIWA this month show that Northland is even drier than it was at this time last year. Photo / Sarah Ivey

I'm starting to get a little nervous. I'm wondering if the highs that are holding over us are going to do a repeat of the past two summers.

Forget La Nina and El Nino for a moment... because New Zealand is so tiny in the big scheme of things it only takes one big high over the country and suddenly the "usual weather" for those events can go right out the window. I also wonder if we have another historical data to really be sure of weather conditions in our country during these events.

Right now we're in a moderate to strong La Nina - we SHOULD be seeing rain, but instead the nation is drying out...big time.

Figures released by NIWA this month show that Northland is even drier than it was at this time last year. Last October they had 21 days with rain...this October they had just 12. Last October they had 61mms of rain, this year just 35mm. The average for Whangarei in October is 116mm.

More Northland figures can be found here.

The long range maps last week indicated a tropical low coming down our way. Those maps were quite accurate - 7 days later and the prediction is still similar, but unfortunately over the past week the models have also increased the strength and size of the high over the South Island - this will act as a brick wall stopping this low from really setting in with rain. Some data suggests we may get no rain at all. Others hint at a 20 or 30% chance of rain.

But overall it's still early days for the summer season - farmers can still take some comfort in the prediction that "normal" rains are on the way for northern New Zealand.



It certainly doesn't feel too positive right now... but I am seeing lots of activity bubbling up around us. Lows are popping up more and more. Two in the Fiji area within a week. Many still forming around Victoria.

However it's not a lack of lows that I'm worried about - it's the strength and dominance of the highs. We need these highs to move away and allow these lows to move in... even if only once a month for a decent downpour.

So as we head into December and Summer this Wednesday I guess my message is this...take comfort in the numerous lows now forming...but be prepared for some long, hot, dry spells for the rest of 2010.

- NZ Herald

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