Wild weather expected

DELWYN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014
Wild Weather
DAVID UNWIN / FAIRFAX NZ
RAIN WANTED: Farmers in the west hope for a good drenching this weekend as the summer dry continues.

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Wind and heavy rain may hit this weekend as ex-tropical cyclone Lusi moves into our neighbourhood.

Saturday could be the worst, the MetService says.

While mainly south-easterly gales ease to northerlies on Sunday, rain should continue, with showers and westerlies on Monday and Tuesday.

Auckland Civil Defence is keeping watch.

Farmers dealing with low rainfall and parched soils will welcome the relief, particularly in the west.

Soil moisture conditions in the Auckland area remain in significant deficit for the second summer in a row, following last summer's drought.

Stream flow rates in the north-east around Warkworth are running at normal rates. But lack of meaningful rain in the west on top of dry soil sees half of the streams in the Auckland area, including the Hoteo and Kaipara rivers, with flow rates below the mean annual low flows.

Dry summers for the past four or five years have farmers working out what suits them best and selling excess stock for the summer, Helensville sheep farmer Andrew McKenzie says.

"Fortunately we've been able to offload stock at sales further down country," he says.

The wet forecast during the weekend is welcome, with only extremely heavy rain likely to cause any problems, Mr McKenzie says.

Also at Helensville, dairy farmer John Glasson agrees farmers in the area are getting used to dry summers, and managing their stock accordingly. While he has enough feed for stock at present, he expects to dry off younger animals early.

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