1 Feb 2014

No drought fears for farmers

8:21 am on 1 February 2014

Climate scientists say farmers can be confident conditions that led to last year's drought will not recur this year.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has released its seasonal outlook for the next three months.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

NIWA scientist Brett Mullan said while there weren't a lot of fine days in a row in January and some farmers have struggled to make hay, they need not worry about a possible drought.

Dr Mullan said the driest area is western Waikato, but even there it is not exceptionally dry, nor is the dryness as widespread as drought conditions last year.

Much of the country is likely to get average rainfall and temperatures over the next three months, but the west and south of the South Island can expect lower than average temperatures because of a continuation of south-westerlies.

Outlook

  • February-April temperatures are equally likely (40% chance) to be average or above average for all North Island regions, equally likely (40% chance) to be average or below average in the west of the South Island, and most likely (50% chance) to be near average in other South Island regions.
  • February-April rainfall totals are equally likely (40% chance) to be normal or above normal in the north of the North Island, equally likely (40% chance) to be normal or below normal in the north and west of the South Island, and most likely (40-50%) to be near normal for all remaining regions.
  • Soil moisture levels are most likely (40-50% chance) to be near normal for all regions except the east of the South Island where soil moisture levels are likely (35-40% chance) to be normal or below normal.
  • River flows are likely (35-40% chance) to be normal or below normal in the north and west of the South Island, and most likely (45-50%) to be near normal for all remaining regions.