3 Feb 2015

Farmers welcome rain relief

7:27 am on 3 February 2015

The rain scattered around parts of the country over the last few days has brought much-needed relief to farmers in parched areas that have not seen rain in weeks.

sheep generic

Photo: 123RF

William Beetham, who farms sheep and beef just east of Masterton, said it was the driest he had seen his land in 25 years.

Mr Beetham said they got eight millimetres of rain over the past two days, which was more than they had in all of January.

He said the Wairarapa had a range of conditions but, for the dry areas, even a little rain went a long way.

"On 20 January we got six millimetres, which was fantastic because it hadn't actually rained for us since mid-December ... With this most recent rain, and some hopefully coming in the next week or so, it will actually allow grass that has managed to survive over this period [to] start to show a bit of life."

MetService forecaster John Law said the high pressures that dominated most of January had moved away at the weekend, bringing rain to much of the country.

And he said more was on the way.

"This week, we find a real change in the pressure pattern, we're back into more of a westerly flow, so we'll find more wet weather pushes onto the western coast of the South Island," he said.

"Our winds will turn more south-westerly, which will start to push a few more showers up and across us as we go through Thursday and Friday. And it's also worth bearing in mind, there's some cooler temperatures along with those south-westerly winds."

MetService has also predicted rain and thunderstorms for drought-stricken Otago.

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