Dry weather predicted to continue in February
Ongoing hot, dry summer weather has been great for Northland’s holidaymakers and tourism sector, but with no significant rain on the horizon the increasingly parched conditions have prompted a local authority warning to conserve water.
The Northland Regional Council says east coast rain gauges from Doubtless Bay down to Whangarei had recorded just 5mm to 10mm rainfall for the month of January, while a gauge at Glenbervie had recorded only 6.5mm, the driest January since records began more than 70 years ago in 1947.
Colin Dall, the council’s Group Manager – Regulatory Services, says Bay of Islands catchments in particular now needed 250mm to 300mm of steady rain (equivalent to several months’ worth) to make up the deficit from some very dry months through winter and autumn last year.
“Unfortunately, not only has Northland already had significantly less summer rain than usual (January’s rainfall in an average summer is usually more like 70mm to 100mm) but the latest four-week forecast from MetService indicates we’re unlikely to receive much rain in February either.”
Mr Dall says given the dry conditions to date, the regional council is – as expected – already recording low flows in many of Northland’s rivers, particularly in and around the Bay of Islands.
“The MetService’s forecast for the next month indicates that while we may see some modest rain towards the weekend of February 9 and 10, forecasters say it doesn’t look enough to ‘keep the wolf from the door’ for very long and there’s no significant rain expected.”
The tropics are also predicted to remain ‘quiet’ for the coming fortnight, but even though they should get more active from about mid-February, at this stage, tropical rainfall from any weather systems forming there is expected to stay away from New Zealand.
Regional river and rainfall data is available on the council’s website nrc.govt.nz/riversandrain
Current water restrictions on public water supplies operated by Northland’s district councils can be found at bewaterwise.org.nz