Rain near record low

November was one of the driest on record in Nelson and this month is also running short of rain, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

Motueka received just 7 per cent of its normal rainfall in November and Takaka 21 per cent, which were the third-lowest totals on record, while Nelson Airport got 26 per cent of its average, to be the fifth driest November.

Rainfall at the airport was 84 per cent of normal in October, but is running at just 21 per cent so far this month.

Niwa agriculture climatologist Alan Porteous said average rainfall and temperatures were forecast over the region during the next three months, but what mattered was when that rain fell.

The unusually low soil moisture - 20 per cent drier than normal - increased the chance of the region experiencing tough conditions over summer.

"Typically soil moisture doesn't recover a great deal through to the end of March so I would be worried."

The Nelson Mail