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Warm late summer; dry soils and low river flows

February - April 2008

Warm late summer; dry soils and low river flows in many key areas

Summer may feel longer this year because above average temperatures are likely to continue through to April over the entire country according to NIWA's National Climate Centre. The centre says there is only a 10 - 20% chance of below average temperatures in all regions and sea surface temperatures around New Zealand are expected to remain close to or above normal.

The centre expects dry conditions to persist in many areas. Soil moisture deficits currently are extreme (more than 130 mm of soil moisture deficit) in Auckland, Waikato, King Country South Taranaki, Wanganui, northern Manawatu, from northern Hawke's Bay to Wairarapa, and central Marlborough to central Canterbury.

Even parts of Southland have unusually low soil moisture levels for the time of year compared with normal. These areas require good quantities of steady rain over several days to soak into the soil and revive pasture and river flows.

ENDS

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