Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Not much room for rain on N Island east coast

Neal Wallace
Soils are so waterlogged, new falls simply run off.
Farmers say the soils are so saturated any rain is washing off, resulting in paddocks turning to mud while feeding out.
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The North Island east coast can’t buy a trick at present.

With soils still sodden from continued wetter-than-usual weather since Cyclone Gabrielle, up to 200mm is forecast to fall from the East Cape to Hawke’s Bay in the coming days.

This follows persistent rain since February, including up to 50mm that fell last weekend.

Farmers said the soils are so saturated, any rain is washing off, resulting in paddocks turning to mud while feeding out or doing stock work.

Gisborne farmer Toby Williams said he has already exceeded his 1200mm average annual rainfall.

“It’s hard to do anything. We can’t take a tractor anywhere, we can’t do fencing, and a digger operator that we have here at the moment has had to go because it is not safe.”

WeatherWatch senior forecaster Philip Duncan said 80-200mm of rain is expected to fall over the weekend with the highest falls in the East Cape and Hawke’s Bay ranges – but 60-70mm is expected to fall on coastal regions.

Duncan said a series of low pressure systems have been passing over the region for most of the year in the absence of counter weather systems to nudge them out of the way.

“What’s missing at the moment are the southerly weather patterns.”

He described current weather systems as chaotic but said indications are that a change is in the wind for the saturated area, which could see drier weather for the rest of winter and early spring.

“There could be long dry spells coming into the North Island but I still think we will see messy weather patterns across the country as we go into spring.”

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