Environment Waikato is monitoring the weather situation closely and evaluating the need to impose restrictions via a water shortage direction after the Waikato region was officially declared a drought zone yesterday.
The following information provides a brief summary of the climate information over the summer period so far, drawing on council data and information from NIWA and Metservice.
Extremely low rainfall levels were recorded over most of the region during January 2008, with the exception of the Coromandel area, which had 50-70 per cent of average rainfall.
Meanwhile, rainfall was 10-20 per cent of the January average over much of the rest of the region.
Environment Waikato monitors data from seven telemetred rainfall sites with greater than 20 years of record and five sites reported from NIWA’s National Climate Centre. All of these sites recorded their third lowest rainfall ever or lower.
Rainfall sites at or near record low rainfall. Sites denoted with * are NIWA sites.
|Location||January Rainfall (mm)||Percentage of average||Year records began||How low since records began?|
|Te Kuiti||14.5||14||1983||Second lowest|
|Te Aroha||6.5||9||1986||Second lowest|
|Kiko Road||37.5||27||1976||Second lowest|
The maps below give a snapshot of regional hotspots – please note these are estimates only and are not to be reproduced.
Rainfall totals (mm) for January 2008 - black dots indicate sites used
Rainfall as a percentage of average January rainfall
NIWA figures indicate the mean air temperature in the Waikato was 2oC above average for January.
For more information please visit www.niwa.cri.nz/ncc/cs/monthly/mclimsum_08_01(external link).
Soil moisture deficit
The national climate centre (NIWA) has described the soil moisture deficit in the majority of the Waikato at the end of January as severe.
For more information please visit http://www.niwa.cri.nz/ncc/cu/2008-01/january(external link).
As the table below shows, of 36 telemetered river flow sites, 11 were at record lows for January or record flows for any month.
Record low river flows
|River||Site||Year records began||Comments|
|Piako||Kiwitahi||1980||January record low|
|Mangaokewa||Te Kuiti||1983||January record low|
|Mangawara||Jefferis||1974||January record low|
|Waingaro||Ruakiwi road||2001||Record low|
|Waikato||Rangiriri||1965||January record low|
|Mangatutu||Walker road||2004||January record low|
|Mangapu||SH3||2000||January record low|
|Waitoa||Waharoa||1984||January record low|
|Waihou||Te Aroha||1965||January record low|
What is predicted?
The Metservice 14 day regional forecast for the Waikato has a few days of rain expected. However, the Metservice is predicting below normal rainfall and above normal temperature to extend through February and March.
For more information please visit http://www.metservice.co.nz(external link).