Government declared a state of drought across the entire North Island
on 15 March, adding Buller and Grey districts on the West Coast last
principal climate scientist at NIWA, Brett Mullan, says the last time
many regions suffered such severe conditions was in 1946.
Mullan says there are fluctuations from year to year but NIWA expects
dry summers to become more common as the global climate changes.
Auckland climate scientist, Jim Salinger, says the dry conditions are
an historic event and he's never seen anything like it.
respite in sight
forecaster John Law says some isolated showers are likely around the
North Island ranges this weekend but the weather will be settled and
dry throughout most of the North Island well into next week.
Law says not even the long-range forecast shows any substantial
rainfall on the way.
Salinger says about 70 to 80 millimetres is needed over several days
to ease drought conditions but he does not expect any useful rain for
the rest of March.