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Poor Forecasting To Cost Millions

16 February 2004

Poor Forecasting To Cost Millions

Farmers are extremely disappointed at the lack of sufficient warning about the storm which lashed many parts of New Zealand, said Hugh Ritchie, a National Board Member of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

Mr Ritchie said that his farm, near Waipukurau in the central Hawke's Bay, had been soaked in the past day.

"We had 190 millimetres in under 24 hours - and not even a heavy rain warning," Mr Ritchie said. "Through the North Island -- and not just on farms -- there has been a lot of damage.

"We cannot reach some of our stock," he said. "After chasing stock until late last night, at 11 pm there was still nothing on teletext or anything about a heavy rain warning.

"We are supposed to get a heavy rain warning ahead of four inches of rain in 24 hours. Why didn't we get one?

"We got a long-range weather forecast in January saying there would be no rain until March. It hasn’t stopped raining since," he said.

A weather warning usually comes from forecasters through the media.

"Farmers need a heads-up if extreme weather is on the way. They can mitigate against damage if they get a warning. In this case there was no warning. Stock losses are inevitable.

"This poor forecasting may well end up costing farmers and the New Zealand economy many millions of dollars," he said.

Ends

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