2 April 2013 (APNZ) – The drought is likely to be felt well into autumn, as river and soil moisture levels in the North Island take some time to recover, climate scientists predict.
NIWA's seasonal climate outlook for April to June has predicted higher than average temperatures across the North Island, and lower than normal river flows and soil moisture levels in the north of the North Island.
The continuing dry conditions come despite the likelihood of near normal rainfall throughout the country.
"Because of the existing soil moisture deficits across the North Island and in the eastern South Island, soil moisture levels and river flows are expected to take some time to recover in these areas," Niwa said.
In Northland, Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty, temperatures are likely to be above average.
Rainfall is likely to be near normal, while soil moisture levels and river flows are likely to be below normal.
Similar conditions are likely for the rest of the North Island, except for soil moisture levels, which are likely to be near or below normal.
In the South Island, temperatures over the next few months are very likely to be above average.
River flows and soil moisture levels are likely to be below or near normal, except for the north of the South Island, where river flows are likely to be below normal.
Niwa said the equatorial Pacific Ocean was likely to remain in a neutral state, with neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions over the next three months.
Higher pressures are likely to prevail over the South Island and further south over the next few months. [more]