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Dry soils likely to improve in some regions


Strong La Nina continues but dry soils likely to improve in some regions

Autumn will continue to feel the effects of a strong La Nina, with generally mild conditions and lighter than normal westerly winds over the country, according to NIWA's National Climate Centre.

For the three months from March to May as a whole, near-normal rainfall is the most likely outcome (50% chance) in all regions, with only a 10 - 20% chance of below normal rainfall in the north and east of the North Island. Reducing hours of daylight and cooler Autumn temperatures will reduce evaporation levels, also helping soil moisture levels to recover. The centre says these conditions should allow soil moisture levels to trend back up towards normal in some of the driest regions such as Waikato, although Taranaki and Manawatu are more likely to stay dry.

For the remainder of the tropical cyclone season (through to May 2008), there is still a small chance of at least one more ex-tropical cyclone passing close to the country. The regions most at risk are the north and northeast of the North Island.


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