Rain not enough to end drought

Water begins to pool in a parched lake bed near Tauranga. Photo / Alan Gibson
Water begins to pool in a parched lake bed near Tauranga. Photo / Alan Gibson

The weekend's rain has been welcomed as a start but hasn't come near the 100mm needed to put an end to the drought.

For the second day running rain has dampened the parched country with steady rain overnight, mostly in the eastern areas of the South Island.

Wellington and eastern parts of the North Island would be most likely to see some rain or at least showers today, WeatherWatch.co.nz said.

Another band of rain or period of showers was likely to move across much of the North Island this afternoon with the chance of a few heavy downpours in isolated areas.

"Rain was patchy yesterday over most of the country but steadier falls were recorded over a few areas but it wasn't the norm," weather analyst Philip Duncan said.

"Today it's a similar scenario but more chance of better falls as the showers or rain could be quite widespread for a time over the North Island this afternoon particularly. There could be some localised downpours but that's a 50/50 chance at the moment."

The South Island also saw rain yesterday but it was also sporadic, Mr Duncan said.

Weather analyst Richard Green said the West Coast had about 25mm by the end of the day, but it was not as much as expected.

"At least it's a start and overnight some rain moved up the east of the South Island with 10-20mm recorded in some places since last night."

Wellington should see rain and southerlies driving into the city, which would be welcome news for many residents with water reserves stretched.

There has been a total ban of outdoor water use since Saturday morning and the Wellington City Council has been encouraging residents to dob in neighbours flouting the rule.

Council spokesman Richard MacLean told Radio New Zealand they had received about 100 calls over the weekend of people alerting them to residents ignoring the directive.

Patrols in the region have then visited those people for a ``friendly chat'' as well as passing on educational material and a formal warning letter, he said.

The maximum fine for breaches of the ban is $20,000.

"We're hoping that people will take the ban seriously, which they seem to be doing at the moment," Mr MacLean said.

Another anticyclone was forecast to reach New Zealand on Tuesday, meaning a return to the dry weather, however, this was followed by another low which could bring rain next weekend.

Federated Farmers' president Bruce Wills said the best thing about today's rain was it showed the relentless string of anti-cyclones passing over the country appeared to be broken.

"All it'll do is bring some hope and wash some dust off some leaves. It won't be enough for good grass growth, but at least it's a start and it'll start softening up the soil."

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said today he was feeling more positive about the drought situation after the weekend's rain.

"At least now we have had some rain ... it'll do two things, one is psychologically it will do a lot for rural communities. the second thing is it will turn some of the grasses around and they'll start growing again," he told TV3's Firstline.

He said it may take up to two years before the full cost of the drought to the community was known and he called on communities to show resilience.

"We've been through droughts, we've been through floods, snow storms, earthquakes before. We will get through this."

Finance Minister Bill English yesterday said the drought could cost the nation's economy up to $2 billion - double the figure estimated last week.

RAINFALL TOTALS

Main centres:

Auckland: 14mm
Hamilton: 11.6mm
Tauranga: 9mm
Wellington 15mm
Christchurch 13mm
Dunedin 22mm

Urban areas:

Whangarei: 3.6mm
Rotorua: 14mm
New Plymouth: 11mm
Napier: 2.2mm
Palmerston North: 0.6mm
Blenheim: 0.5mm
Nelson, Westport and Greymouth: between 20-30mm
Timaru: 16mm
Queenstown: 24mm
Invercargill: 5mm

Read more:

Your future weather: A daunting forecast
More droughts and bush fires tipped for future

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 29 Aug 2014 01:19:30 Processing Time: 1006ms