Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Farm hopes high as rain blows in

It's going to be a wet week for Auckland and the upper North Island as a large low-pressure weather system makes its presence felt, with the rainfall expected to bring some relief to drought-hit farmers.

A big low was expected to move across the upper North Island bringing showers until Thursday, with another expected to arrive on Friday - but experts warn the drought crisis in some areas is far from over.

MetService duty forecaster Stephen Glassey said the system had prompted a heavy rain warning for Bay of Plenty.

"It is a big low, it comes from the north Tasman Sea, it is sitting to the west of the North Island and it should move across the North Island on Wednesday and travel out to the east.

"The heaviest rain should fall in the Bay of Plenty and a heavy rain warning is in force into the early part of Wednesday," Mr Glassey said.

Temperatures were expected to be in the low 20C range, with overnight minimums in the "high teens".

A brief break in the wet weather was expected on Thursday before another low approached on Friday.

"We've got a low moving over the country in the next couple of days and that's bringing rain to Auckland and the upper North Island and it's looking pretty unsettled throughout the week," Mr Glassey said.

"We're forecasting fine spells on Thursday with just a few showers but then on Friday and Saturday there are some more showers coming through."

Forecaster Oliver Druce said the amount of rain expected wasn't "super unusual", but bigger than most of the regions had had in a long time.

But he warned it was "still early days" for many in the drought zone.

The second low would hopefully bring rain to those areas that missed when the first hit.

"So places that don't get as much as they would like this time can have another go on Friday and Saturday.

"They're going to get different amounts in different places so it would be hard to generalise but this is a substantial step towards relieving the drought," Mr Druce said.

Waikato Federated Farmers president James Houghton said the region had yet to see any more than 1-2mm of rain and hopes were high for the downpour forecast later this week.

"It would be great to see 20-30mm. We just need rain to get things going so we can work and plan forward.

"Small parts of the Waikato have had some rain so they're looking better than others but there are still some that are very brown and very short," he said.

Although the rainfall was good news, it would not be enough for many affected farmers, said the chairwoman of Federated Farmers on the West Coast, Katie Milne.

"The damage is already done. The feed reserves are so low that they're not going to be enough to get us through winter. The worst is yet to unfold, unfortunately."

However, she said, the rainfall would help with grass growth for next spring.

Weather low-down

* Low expected to bring showers to the upper North Island until Thursday, with a heavy rain warning in the Bay of Plenty.

* Another low will bring more rain on Friday.

* Temperatures in the low 20s.

* Drought-hit areas will get rain but it isn't expected to be enough to break the drought.

- NZ Herald

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