Weather: Wet weekend weather a good start, but more rain needed to end drought

More rain is forecast for later this week.
More rain is forecast for later this week. Photo credit: Getty

Heavy downpours brought some relief to farmers over the long weekend, but much more rain is needed to ease ongoing drought conditions in many parts of the country.

"There were some good areas of relief, but like we've seen across 2020 it was hit and miss," WeatherWatch head forecaster Philip Duncan told Newshub.

"There were some areas that got a decent downpour and they really feel like the drought's been sort of decimated by some of the rain, so that's a really good bit of feedback to be hearing from some farmers. But then you talk to another farmer that lies just around the corner and they're in a different situation where the rain didn't fall for them."

Eastern areas in the north of the North Island got a "good dousing", Duncan said, particularly places close to the eastern coastline, from the Bay of Islands down to north Auckland and out to the Coromandel and East Cape.

"Those areas all got decent heavy rain - over 100mm in some areas - but the western areas of those same regions got far, far less. "

While some places in eastern Northland got more than 100mm of rain, others in western Northland got less than 10mm.

"That's a pretty good example of the set-up that we had with his event and why there were warnings for potential flooding by why there were still people within those same areas saying we got almost nothing," Duncan said.

Weather: Wet weekend weather a good start, but more rain needed to end drought
Photo credit: WeatherWatch

It was similar for farmers struggling with the crippling drought in Hawke's Bay, where "patchy" rain meant some places received decent downpours while others, particularly those in the south of the region and inland, got very little.

Despite the "hit-and-miss" nature of the rain, Duncan said it was still one of more positive weather events seen so far this year.

And there are signs more rain is ont is way.

"There's more coming," Duncan said. "[It's] sort of death by papercuts to the drought, because we get more showers coming through."

That rain is forecast to hit the upper North Island over Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"It will also be helpful because it will be coming into the western side - the areas that arguably had the least amount of rain through this last event - so that's a good way of balancing it all out."

More rain is also forecast for Canterbury, which Duncan described as "fast becoming the main dry region in the country".

Five day accumulated rainfall forecast from 7am Tuesday until 7am on Sunday.
Five day accumulated rainfall forecast from 7am Tuesday until 7am on Sunday. Photo credit: WeatherWatch

Despite wetter conditions in much of the country recently, much more rain is needed to end the drought.

Duncan says one or two months' worth or rain needs to fall within a couple of weeks if any real difference is to be seen.

"We need 200-300mm of rain falling in many places over a good bit of time, over a few weeks, that would end the drought, that would make a difference everywhere."

Although it's not looking like the recent rain has led to any "immediate reversal" of the country's drought conditions, with some farmers in Northland and Auckland reporting a marked improvement and more rain on its way soon, things could be a lot worse, Duncan said.

"We need to have more rain coming through and I'm not sure if June is going to be the month that will bring those big rainfall totals, but it will be bringing more showers and that's definitely a positive."