February was a month of two halves, with the incumbant westerly winds being replaced mid-month by High pressure over the South Island. This resulted in an abrupt change from wet and windy weather in western regions of both Islands, to sunshine and drier conditions. In contrast, significant rain fell across much of the North Island around, or just after, mid-month.
“This rain brought some relief to the drought/dry areas in the north and east of the North Island,” said MetService Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths, “but another dry spell set in to end the month, as replacement Highs took control once more.”
February started out very cold for the south of the country, and unusually warm in the north and east of the North Island. However, the second half of the month saw summery weather being enjoyed by all.
“Wellington and the west and south of the South Island, in particular, redeemed themselves during the back half of February – sunshine and hot weather was the name of the game,” noted Griffiths.
“Looking ahead, summer lingers this week, before High pressure gradually loses its grip over the country next week,” Griffiths commented.
Tasman Sea lows and mobile fronts are forecast to affect the country by mid-month. Although confidence in monthly rainfall projections is relatively low at this time of year, there is a clear signal for northeasterlies and some top-up rain over the upper North Island later next week.
“For the drought-declared region of Northland, the rainfall looks more ‘top-up’ than drought-breaker at this stage, but MetService will continue to monitor.”
Overall, a drier than usual March is signalled for the west and south of the South Island. For the regions north of Lake Taupo, March rainfall should end up close to normal, due to a mixture of long dry spells and intermittent rain events. Elsewhere, March rainfall should lie near average to below average, overall. Temperatures should run near average to above average across New Zealand.
Projected March 2017 Rainfall.
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