Dargaville has endured its driest summer since 1905 and it's Whangārei's driest since World War II as the unrelenting drought shows no signs of abating, except for a sprinkle of showers in places around Northland.
Parts of the region have endured their driest summer on record and autumn is set to be drier than normal too as the region's drought intensifies.
MetService statistics show only 62.6mm of rain fell in Dargaville between December and February, the lowest summer total there since records began in 1905.
Only 70mm fell in Whangārei, the lowest since the "exceptional drought" of 1945/46.
The 83mm of rain Milford Sound received in the 12 hours to 11am on Tuesday was more than Whangārei, Dargaville or Kaitāia's total rainfall for all of summer.
Kaitāia had its second driest summer since records began in 1948, recording 75.2mm of rain from December 1 to February 29.
Periods of 15 days or longer with less than 1mm of rain on any day are referred to as "dry spells".
MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said Northland's record dry weather didn't happen in isolation.
"It follows on from a very dry January to July 2019, then not a good spring rainfall, then dry again before Christmas so you've had 15 months of drier than normal weather.
"The baseline temperatures were so much higher and the heat we've seen across summer was more than we used to see in the 1940s and that takes the soil moisture away," Griffiths said.
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McDonnell Rd in Mangapai recorded the most rain in Northland during summer at 152.2mm, according to the Northland Regional Council rain gauge.
Weka Weka Rd in Maimamaku came second at 141.5mm, followed by 132mm at Topuni and Maungaturoto at 125.5mm.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor on February 11 declared a medium-scale adverse weather event for all areas north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and made an $80,000 support package.
Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group spokesman Murray Soljak said the stats on Whangārei and the rest of the region reinforced the fact that people should stop lighting fires of any kind and to keep up with water conservation.
Niwa seasonal climate outlook for February to April predicts temperatures in Northland will most likely be above average, rainfall most likely to be near normal, and soil moisture levels and river flows are most likely to be below normal.
Level 4 restrictions - the toughest possible - have been introduced in Kaitāia, Kaikohe, Omanaia-Rawene, Paihia-Opua-Waitangi and Kawakawa-Moerewa in the Far North and
Dargaville in the Kaipara as those two districts have seen their water sources dry up.
Level 4 restrictions limit water use to essential purposes (drinking, cooking, showering and washing clothes). Outdoor use, such as watering gardens, washing vehicles or topping up private pools, is banned.
A series of water tanks have been put into Kaikohe and Kaitāia in case the water supplies to those towns dry up. As well water tanks have been installed and filled at a number of schools across the region to prevent them having to close.
Level 2 water restrictions have been in force in Whangārei since last Wednesday, with a warning that Level 3 restrictions may not be too far behind.
Far North District Council is urging residents to make 25 per cent water savings while Whangārei District Council is asking for 20 per cent savings to prevent tighter restrictions.
As of 2pm yesterday, the capacity at Wilsons Dam was 68 per cent while the Whau Valley Dam that supplies most of the city was at 59 per cent.
Whangārei District Council water services manager Andrew Venmore said the council has done well to maintain the dam levels given the record dry year and record dry summer.
He said quite a lot of water pipes were breaking due to the dry weather as the ground started to move because of the hot temperatures.
Andrew Kevey of Whangārei water carrier Water2Go said the demand for water in the past week was down "a wee bit", probably because people thought it might rain this week.
From 12 runs a day, his three trucks are doing eight runs at the moment to as far south as Wellsford and as far north as Kaikohe.
MetService is forecasting cloudy periods with showers developing this morning with a strong southeast change in Northland today. Showers are expected to become isolated during the evening.
There will be cloudy periods tomorrow with a few morning showers in the east.
Water saving tips:
Flush less often
Only wash clothes on a full load
Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or washing hands
Fix leaking taps, toilets and other fittings.
For more water-saving tips and the latest on the crisis, visit bewaterwise.org.nz