It is another sunny day for the tinder-dry Tasman region with a good drop of rain likely a week away as firefighters enter their third day battling a blaze raging in the Pigeon Valley.

The fire had spread to 1900ha at two sites near Nelson — about four times the size of Auckland's CBD and a greater area than the devastating Port Hills fires in Christchurch two years ago.

Fine weather was predicted for the region with morning cloud likely to burn off leaving another clear day reaching into the 20s, MetService meteorologist James Millward said.

"There is a little bit of morning cloud, but it will turn fine with some noreasterly breezes."


"Looking ahead, it's going to be a reasonably dry weekend, with the temperatures sitting in the mid 20s."

Winds at Farewell Spit were gusting at 55 to 60km/h while Nelson Airport was reporting gusts of 35km/h.

The region was tinder-dry, with the area desperate for rain after next to none for more than 40 days.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said yesterday extreme dryness in Nelson and Tasman has provided further fuel for the fire currently raging in the area.

Only 6mm of rain had fallen in January 2019, down from last year's total of 220mm when two tropical cyclones battered the country with rain and wind.

The Tasman fire left hectares of scorched earth in its wake. Photo / Tim Cuff
The Tasman fire left hectares of scorched earth in its wake. Photo / Tim Cuff

In contrast, the average rainfall for January in Tasman was between 60mm and 70mm.

The dry forecast was bad news as the Tasman area had not had significant rainfall since Christmas Day, 44 days ago when the area got 13.6mm of rain.

Further north, a weak front moving northward over the northern North Island this morning and early afternoon brought a low risk of thunderstorms to several areas.


The front was expected to bring some showers to northern areas and thunderstorms possibly moving on to coastal parts of the northern Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and Northland during the morning.

Looking ahead, on Saturday and Sunday, a front moved out of the Tasman Sea and on to the lower South Island, bringing heavy rain to the West Coast, and strong to gale northwesterlies to exposed eastern parts.

"There is moderate confidence of rainfall in Fiordland reaching warning amounts during Sunday, and low confidence for Westland, especially in the ranges," MetServcie said.

"There is low confidence of warning amounts of rain for the headwaters of the Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers during Sunday, and low confidence of northwest gales becoming severe in exposed parts of inland Otago and the Canterbury High Country."

Your weather
Whangarei: Cloudy periods, a few showers possibly heavy at first, clearing afternoon. Southeasterlies. High 23C Low 18C

Auckland: Cloudy periods, isolated early morning showers. Easterlies. High 23C Low 15C


Tauranga: Partly cloudy, one or two morning and late evening showers. South easterly breezes. High 23C Low 14C

Napier: Often cloudy with a few showers. Easterlies. High 20C Low 13C

Whanganui: Fine. Southeasterlies, dying out overnight. High 24C Low 12C

Wellington: A few cloudy periods with showers possible about the south coast. Becoming fine from late morning. Southeasterlies dying out overnight. High 18C Low 11C

Christchurch:Morning cloud clearing to fine, but returning evening with northeast winds. High 18C Low 9C

Dunedin:Fine. Northeasterly breezes. High 17C Low 11C


Source: MetService