February 2016 – Volatile rainfall for northeast of country, drier elsewhere

February 4, 2016

“The 2015/2016 El Nino peaked in late 2015, as expected. It remains a strong event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, but continues its gradual decline. During autumn, conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean are forecast to return to near neutral levels,” commented Griffiths. “However, weather patterns much closer to home will continue to dominate how much ends up in our rain gauges during February,” she added.

High pressure favoured the southern South Island during January, and forecasts indicate that this pattern continues into February. The first half of the month looks drier than normal over the entire South Island. Any fronts that do move in are likely to weaken as they do so, meaning below normal February rainfall is forecast for the entire South Island. A drier than usual February is also expected for Taranaki to Wellington, and for the Wairarapa.

In contrast, February rainfall for the remainder of the North Island is forecast to continue fairly volatile, with significant rainfall events interspersed by longer dry spells. Rainfall is forecast for this weekend for the north and east of the North Island, and there is also a weak signal for a wet phase in these regions in the third week of the month. Rainfall totals for February are expected to be fairly healthy (near normal to above normal) for Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taupo and Taihape.

“February has started abnormally warm right across New Zealand, but temperatures are forecast to revert to more typical levels next week. By month end, we may see a somewhat cooler spell across the country,” commented Griffiths.

The latest Rural Outlook can be found at www.metservice.com/rural/monthly-outlook.

Official Severe Weather Watches and Warnings are reviewed and re-issued by MetService at least every twelve hours, and more often if necessary. To get the most up to date information on severe weather around the country, or any other forecasts, see metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook, @metservice and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com 

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