Wednesday, February 21, 2024

‘Morale is being worn down’ by heavy rainfall

Neal Wallace
As well as bringing sodden soils and damaged farm and public infrastructure, the weather is testing people.
Dan Russell’s Puketiti Station at Te Puia Springs is already scarred from Cyclone Gabrielle as shown here, but endured another 140mm on Wednesday night with more forecast.
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Any day now Dan Russell expects to have tipped 3m of rain out of his east coast rain gauge for the year to date.

Usually, Puketiti Station at Te Puia Springs inland from Tokomaru Bay records between 1700mm to 2000mm a year, but the rain since February, said Russell, has been “relentless”.

Cyclone Gabrielle inaugurated a period in which, Russell estimates, 50-100mm of rain has fallen each week.

As well as bringing sodden soils and damaged farm and public infrastructure, the weather is testing people.

“Everyone’s morale is being worn down,” he said.

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 over the June 17-18 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.

WeatherWatch 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.

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