Plenty more sun to come - for the North Island

By Steve Deane

Little rain in sight for farmers as highs keep weather warm and dry in North Island.

The Indian summer keeps the tempratures warm enough for swimming at Lake Pupuke in Takapuna. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Indian summer keeps the tempratures warm enough for swimming at Lake Pupuke in Takapuna. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It's great news for sun lovers but not so good for farmers - the upper North Island's Indian summer is expected to continue well into next month.

A network of large high pressure systems is holding firm over the north, meaning the westerly jetstream that brings wetter, colder weather for late autumn and winter remains parked over the southern half of the country, MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett said.

"Slowly [the high pressure systems] will start tracking their way north with the season and then we'll start getting more westerlies, and that's when the weather systems have a bit more bark and bite to them," Mr Corbett said.

"So enjoy it now. This is that nice part of autumn."

While the settled weather is great for grape and pipfruit growers, farmers still recovering from last year's 50-year drought were once again dealing with bone-dry conditions, said WeatherWatch analyst Phillip Duncan.


"A lot of people now are very happy with the weather," Mr Duncan said. "But the people that are dry are saying it is drier than this time last year. I've had people telling me that consistently since December."

WeatherWatch had predicted the dry summer, which followed a period of unsettled weather in December.

"We were concerned that the dry pattern we had last summer would continue through to this summer," Mr Duncan said.

"We are seeing now that dry pattern forming in the areas that we predicted, which was the North Island mostly. Our concern, and we said this back in February to Auckland Council and Civil Defence, was there were no rain makers coming in March except for Lusi. And that one tropical low missed a lot of farmers in the driest parts of the country.

"I don't see any change for the north of the country. The Indian summer definitely will continue through April. It will get a little cooler for the South Island and Wellington as of next week. That's because of a cool change that arrives later this week."

The remnants of tropical cyclone Lusi had brought some relief to dry areas but some parts of the Waikato in particular received very little rain during the storm, Mr Corbett said.

"Waikato was like a patchwork quilt. The Kaimais had 100ml but you went to the Waikato and they barely got 5ml.

"We just need a nice moist northwesterly system to bring the rain back into these places, which hopefully will be in a few weeks.

"But we've got these nice big highs in the meantime and they are helping to bring us nice fine weather."

And the forecast is...

Mainly fine with some cloudy periods and chance of light rain today and tomorrow.

Cloudy periods with possible shower tonight. Fine for the rest of the week until cloud develops on Friday.

A few showers today, some heavy and with a chance of thunder, before becoming fine later in the week.

Rain and southerlies developing today, becoming fine and until Friday when it gets cloudy.

- NZ Herald

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