February 2017 – It never rains, but it pours

February 1, 2017

What you thought of January depends a great deal on where you live. It was a windy and cool start to the year for most of us, but each end of the country experienced hugely differing rainfall during January. “The start of 2017 saw absolutely opposite weather between the north of the country, and the south,” said MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths.

The north and east of the North Island experienced very dry conditions in January, due to High pressure sitting around Cape Reinga and howling westerly winds. “Gisborne Airport recorded a scant 4mm of rain in the month, while Napier Airport recorded 5.4mm. It was the driest January at both locations in records starting in 1905, and 1950, respectively”, commented Griffiths. In contrast, it was extremely wet for the west and south of the South Island, with rainfall totals in the order of one and a half times the January norm. Milford Sound recorded over 1.3 metres of rainfall in the month.

The first half of February is forecast to see a continuation of unsettled, westerly winds. “This means that the soggy southern and western regions are likely to continue running wet, while the parched regions in the northeast of the country continue running drier than usual,” noted Griffiths. “It never rains, but it pours.”

Above average temperatures are predicted for the north and east of the North Island for the first half of February, with near average temperatures for the second half of the month. In particular, some extremely high temperatures are signalled for Gisborne and Hawkes Bay in the first half of the month. A cooler than usual February is forecast elsewhere.

From mid-month, it will pay to keep a watchful eye on the tropics. “The tropics to the north of New Zealand have been very quiet so far this season. It can’t last, so keep an eye on the MetService forecast.”

Bottom line: A relatively dry and warm February is expected for the north and east of the North Island – these are the already dry areas. A very wet and cool February is forecast for the west and south of the South Island, with things remaining on the wetter and cooler side for Taranaki to Wellington, as well as the Wairarapa. Temperatures run on the cooler side for Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury, overall, but monthly rainfall in these regions should end up near normal.

2017-02-01

The latest Rural Outlook can be found at www.metservice.com/rural/monthly-outlook. You can keep up to date with the latest forecasts and any watches/warnings at 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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