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Weather a ‘mixed bag’

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A “rare” mid-summer low front swept over the country during Wellington Anniversary weekend, putting a dampener on the region’s three-day break.

But even though the weather kept Kiwis off the beaches, firefighters and farmers say there is a positive side to the dumping of rain.

South Wairarapa District Council rural fire officer Porky Sexton said there was no doubt the rain had “been a good thing”.

Between late Sunday afternoon and 8am yesterday morning, 40mm of rain had fallen in Featherston, he said.

On Mr Sexton’s farm, 10km away from the township, 20mm had fallen.

“But firefighting wise, the risks are still out there, even with the wet weather we’ve had.”

He said people had to take note and abide by the total fire bans and fire restrictions currently in place throughout the region.

For Gladstone’s Karen Williams, of Ahiaruhe Farm, the rainy weather had its pros and cons.

Even though sheep and beef, and dairy farmers in the region “would be loving it”, at this time of year the Williams’ farm was used primarily for cropping.

She said the rain would have been great for the grass paddocks and for ripening some grain crops.

However, other crops ready for harvest would now have a high water content, which was not ideal.

“It’s a bit of a mixed bag,” Mrs Williams said.

“We’d love some nice hot sunny weather for harvesting but we’re not complaining too loud, it’s pretty hard to get it right.”

She said the most irritating aspect to the 2016/2017 summer had been the fact that the “spring winds” had yet yet to subside.

Over the long weekend, strong winds continued to batter Wairarapa, even causing the brief closure of the Rimutaka Hill late Sunday afternoon.

Metservice meteorologist April Clark said the recent “dismal” weather was unusual for the peak of summer.

“These [weather events] do happen but it is rare to get a big low like this at this time of year.”

Ms Clark said the weekend low which swept over New Zealand meant the weather had “not been good for anyone”.

At 9am yesterday morning, a rain metre near Castlepoint showed the area had received 8mm of rain.

At 10am on Sunday Martinborough had received 5.6mm of rain, which was followed by “more solid rain” in the evening.

In Ngawi, 7.6mm of rain fell in one hour on Sunday evening.

Masterton saw rain on and off over the weekend, with 2mm the highest recorded fall.

The region’s weather was set to improve today, Ms Clark said.

“[Wairarapa] may have a few areas with morning cloud but it’s going to be a pretty fine day.”

Tuesday would be fine with a high of 25 degrees.

On Wednesday rain would return late morning but clear in the afternoon, and strong northwesterlies would change to southwesterlies.

Thursday and Friday were both looking fine, with of 23 degrees and 24 degrees respectively and northwesterlies.

“As everyone’s been saying, it’s not been a good summer . . . but we’ve still got a lot of summer to go,” Ms Clark said.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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