Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | January 21, 2011

precipitation from the heavens

It is raining in Hawke’s Bay.

An easterly is blowing the rain right in my office windows (well, it would be if they were open!) and I am loving it!

Usually I would have been very grumpy when the rain clouds threatened at 6pm on a Thursday night as that’s tennis night and you know, tennis is definitely a hot, sunny, summer sport!

But with the landscape starting to turn a deathly shade of grey, it’s divine to see rain.

Of course, we need a tad more, but every journey starts with the first step (or drop). The MetService is predicting unsettled weather this weekend as the tail end of a tropical cyclone comes south, with some rain likely (up to 50 mm from Friday to Tuesday).

Some decent rain is expected over the weekend and Monday, which will provide temporary relief to Hawke’s Bay farmers and irrigators who have been dealing with very dry soil conditions and irrigation bans recently, says a Regional Council press release that arrived in my inbox this morning.

“Up to now, some parts of the Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains have had up to 94 consecutive days (approx 3 months) with less than 10 mm of rain.  So this rain might provide temporary relief but the forecasts are not very certain and it will take much more rain to give farmers what they really need,” said Rob Christie, Team Leader Hydrology. Most of the region’s rivers have had lower than normal flows for the last 3 months. Tukituki catchment and southern Hawke’s Bay are experiencing flows that are 70% below normal.”

The Regional Council soil moisture monitors show that levels are lower than normal for January at around 10% on average – ranging from a very dry 2% at Bridge Pa to 17% at Taharua.  Soil temperatures range from 19-24 deg celsius.

Rainfall has been exceptionally low for the year.  Hawke’s Bay has had only 14% of normal January rainfall, ranging from 33% in northern Hawke’s Bay to only 8% on the Ruataniwha Plains.  This follows lower than normal rainfall at the beginning of summer – 40% of normal November rainfall and 58% of December rain.  Some parts of the Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains have had up to 94 consecutive days (approx 3 months) with less than 10 mm of rain.   

Making the situation worse is that neighbouring regions – Manawatu, Rangitikei and Wairarapa – are also dry and facing severe feed shortages, creating further pressure on stock feed demands.  

There a concern that if the currently forecasted rain does not significantly replenish soil moisture the establishment of winter feed crops and the ability to finish this season’s young stock will be at risk. Continuing dry conditions could lead to a severe autumn feed deficit and potentially a prolonged feed shortage into winter.



  1. I hope it was a drought-breaker.

    • Yes – it was! The blog was about to get an earful from me yesterday as after 110mm+ I was sick of the rain (not as much as my mother in law who has had my children in Gisborne for most of it!) Today has dawned bright and sunny and despite being stuck in my office all day, I am pleased to look outside and see sunshine knowing that a cold wine is waiting for me soooon! I think I have been alone too long today…. so much to say!!! Anyhow, yes, drought breaker for now. The only people who weren’t pleased to see it were the meat companies I should think. Now it can stay fine til March, when I expect to see another good rainfall to set us up for winter 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: