Rain has started to soak large parts of the country today but
it will offer little reprieve around Auckland, which has
suffered its driest start to a year in half a century.
Up to 50mm will fall today in Auckland and Waikato and about
20mm in Northland today, MetService forecaster Ian Gall said.
Heavier rain is expected on the South Island with up to 130mm
forecast for the West Coast and 90mm at Nelson.
As much as 120mm may fall at Mt Taranaki but Mr Gall said the
rain would offer little comfort for the driest parts of the
Only 9mm of rain was recorded at Auckland Airport last month
while most of Waikato, Northland and the Coromandel received
10 per cent of their normal rainfall, Niwa principal
scientist Dr Brett Mullan said.
Figures to be released today by Niwa show Auckland's rainfall
last month was the lowest since 1962, while 4mm recorded at
Whitianga was its lowest on record.
It has resulted in soil moisture levels lying at the bottom
of Niwa's measurement scale, with parts of Northland and
Waikato so dry measurement is difficult.
Dr Mullan said the dry conditions were severe and not
expected to show much improvement for at least the next three
Fears continue that a drought will be declared for parts of
the North Island, with Mr Gall saying today's rainfall would
"You'll get a blast of rain on Tuesday morning and then it
gradually clears and the fine weather comes back for a couple
of days," he said. "It's a fairly brief interlude."
Dr Mullan said many were anxious for rain but it was unlikely
the recovery from the dry weather would be immediate.
"Depending on how much falls [this week], there may be parts
that are relieved straight away, although without continuing
rain they'll dry out again."
Niwa's outlook for the next three months predicts a recovery
to normal rainfall and soil moisture levels by April.
Dr Mullan said it was unknown how long it would take some
farms to recover from the dry summer.
* 9mm of rain in Auckland - the lowest for the month since
* 4mm of rain in Whitianga - the lowest on record
* 10 per cent of normal rainfall in Waikato, Coromandel and