2 Mar 2015

Warm, dry spell set to last

9:45 pm on 2 March 2015

More dry, warm weather is expected this autumn, especially in the North Island.

Looking back on the Wairarapa from Castle Point.

Looking back on the Wairarapa from Castle Point - February 2015. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is predicting rainfall and soil moisture will be less than normal throughout the north, but some drought relief is likely for Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.

The climate outlook said from March to May it was likely to be warmer than usual countrywide with sea and land temperatures above normal.

NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino said even though summer had officially ended it was not over yet.

"We think that there are equal chances for near normal or above normal temperatures for the entire country, North or South Island, as we progress through the autumn season."

Near normal rainfall in Canterbury is expected but is unlikely to get the very dry soil back to normal moisture levels.

Usually at this time of year, an El Nino weather pattern would bring stronger and more frequent westerly winds and drier conditions for the east and north.

But Mr Brandolino said that was unlikely to happen this year.

"We never did get a proper El Nino during the spring and during the summer, so the threat of El Nino is going to be decreasing over the next couple of months by about 45 percent."

Mr Brandolino said that by the time May rolled around, the weather nationwide would be pretty much back to normal with harsh cold snaps and frosts.

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