Near-record rainfall hit Oamaru last month.

A total of 144mm was recorded, nearly three times its November average.

A Niwa National Climate Centre spokeswoman confirmed this was the second-highest November rainfall for the North Otago town since records began in 1898.

Dunedin was also soaked in November. Its 134mm of rain was the third-highest in the city's records.


Niwa climate scientist Nava Fedaeff, of Auckland, called Oamaru's rainfall "unusual'', but it occurred at a time of year when odd weather events could be expected.

"It was a wet month for a lot of the country.

"It's not like El Nino. It's a changeable time of year ... sometimes it's dry. Strange things do happen around this time of year.''

Totara potato-grower Peter Armstrong said this year was the earliest he had helicopters to spray for fungal diseases that could attack his crops.

"It's been bloody wet. It's a season ... I can't recall one like this.

"It's affected the ability to be able to plant crops on time. We've had a lot of moist, humid days, so we've had the helicopters a lot earlier.''

North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) chief executive Robyn Wells said her water scheme had not delivered any real amount of water since the season started on September 1.

So far this year NOIC has delivered 800,000cum.


Last year the scheme delivered 16million cum and in 2014, 15million cum.

"This year is a historically low demand for irrigators.''

Federated Farmers North Otago provincial dairy chairman Lyndon Strang said the rainfall was a contrast to what the area had experienced for the last two years.

"I don't think anyone saw it coming. I don't think anyone has had to turn irrigators on and those without irrigators are having a cracker.

"The ones I feel sorry for are the contractors. Those contractors are struggling to keep up with the baleage and silage. With all these constant showers, it's hard for the contractors to go into the paddocks. It has to be relatively dry for us to bale it.''

Ms Fedaeff said the country experienced several low-pressure fronts during November, which brought a lot of rain.

She said in the 24 hours ending 9am on November 17, Oamaru received 40.8mm of rain. Monthly Oamaru generally received about 42mm.

In the 24 hours ending 9am November 16, Oamaru received 19.6mm and in the 24-hour period ending 9am November 15, it received 17.4mm of rain.