Driest month Warkworth's rainfall for January

Last updated 09:06 07/02/2013

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The golden weather's back and an Auckland-wide fire ban is unchanged despite two days of rain earlier this week.

Firefighters remain on tenter-hooks as dry conditions are expected to continue.

January was the driest month ever for Warkworth. Only 6mm fell there, the lowest in any month since records began in 1966.

And Mahurangi River levels remain near critical, affecting the town's use.

Warkworth residents need to be careful with their water use as the town's water supply is under pressure, Watercare Services says.

Only the township is affected, as its treatment plant is totally reliant on water from the Mahurangi River.

Snells Beach, Algies Bay and Wellsford are supplied by separate sources.

Residents should not wash cars or fill swimming pools and should minimise garden sprinkler use and other water-intensive activities, Watercare says.

The Auckland Council and other large water users in the area have also been asked to reduce their use.

Watercare hopes the measures will avoid the need for formal water restrictions.

The company has been trying to secure Warkworth's water supply through a bulk water take from a bore in Sanderson Rd.

The former Rodney District Council first applied for a resource consent for the water take in 2007.

Watercare was awarded consent late last year but the decision was appealed and mediation is continuing. If that fails it will go to the Environment Court.

Auckland was not far off an all-time low rainfall for January, Niwa figures show.

Just 9mm was recorded at Auckland Airport, the third lowest of any month since 1959.

Auckland was also the warmest of the six main centres with a mean temperature of 19.9 degrees Celsius for January.

Leigh had its fourth highest mean air temperature at 20.6 degrees since records began in 1966.

High pressures prevailing over the North Island early in January meant any fronts making it across the North Island "fizzled" - producing very little rainfall, Niwa says.

The second half of January was characterised by an intense blocking high which became slow moving over, and to the east of, the country.

January rainfall totalled less than 10 per cent of normal across much of Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, and parts of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

A return to near normal conditions is expected during the next three months.

Further rain won't come until next Wednesday at the earliest. Sun is forecast for the weekend and into next week with mainly light southwesterly winds.

Fire precautions remain in place.

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- Rodney Times

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