Weatherman dampens holiday expectations

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 30/01/2013

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The end of the golden weather is set to strike Nelson on its anniversary day on Monday, albeit temporarily.

The region has basked beneath clear skies and hot days brought about by a large high pressure system "stuck like glue" over the country.

But MetService media and communications spokesman Daniel Corbett said it looked like any long weekend activities planned in Nelson might best be confined to Saturday and Sunday - rain and freshening northerlies look likely by Sunday night and heading into Monday.

Temperatures, which are expected to remain in the mid to high 20 degrees Celsius range, will also drop, but Nelson has escaped the worst of the heat.

Climate scientist Jim Salinger said parts of the South Island's east coast between Timaru and Marlborough could top 40C today, while parched Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay look set to swelter in the high 30s.

Dr Salinger said the heatwave was being buoyed by gentle northwesterlies and warm air clashing with the tail end of tropical cyclone Oswald, mirroring conditions that created a 40C-plus day in Canterbury on February 7, 1973, when the temperature in Rangiora hit 42.4C.

The current dry spell has led the Tasman District Council to advise residents on the Dovedale and Redwood Valley rural water schemes to conserve water.

It said that due to several isolated pipe breaks and the ongoing period of hot, dry weather, peak demand was almost exceeding supply. Contractors are working on repairing the breaks.

There was no meeting of the Dry Weather Taskforce last night, but another would be called next week if there was a need, council spokesman Richard Liddicoat said.

Tapawera dairy farmer Martin O'Connor said temperatures in the area had been hovering in the 30s in recent days, but that was not unusual.

The lack of breeze associated with the current weather pattern had made things a little warmer, but the heavy rainfall of two weeks ago had "perked things up a bit" in terms of summer feed supply.

"The whole world is suddenly taking notice of the weather but things haven't changed much at all," said Mr O'Connor, who is Federated Farmers' Nelson dairy chairman and has been in the Tapawera area for 20 years.

Mr Corbett said the big high pressure system which had been sitting over Nelson and much of the rest of the country for a few days should start to move east and the hints of more cloud would soon start to show.

"There's a bit of moisture in the system due to come in from the north on Sunday night or Monday."

Mr Corbett said while it might not be good news for many, it should be for all the students dreading heading back to school in such fine weather.

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"Monday is not going to be the best day for a barbecue in Nelson, but the system is expected to kick through by Tuesday when the wind flow will shift around. But ... it's possible at this stage the high might hang around a while longer," Mr Corbett said.

- The Nelson Mail

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