Weather blamed on El Nino

BY SAM MCKNIGHT
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2010

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The intense storm that ripped through the south on Thursday could happen again but it is unlikely, a scientist said.

Niwa climate variability and change principal scientist Dr James Renwick said the root of the storm system was in the moderate-strength El Nino weather pattern over New Zealand.

El Nino patterns created stronger and more frequent southwest flows and with Southland on the leading edge, the chances of such storms were increased, he said.

Rain continued to fall in the south overnight with another 14.4mm in Invercargill from midnight to 10am yesterday on top of the 7.6mm dumped on the city within 10 minutes on Thursday afternoon.

Gore also had 17mm of rain yesterday morning to 1pm.

MetService forecaster Tuporo Marsters said more rain was predicted for the south during the weekend with another front heading our way.

Meanwhile, lightning split a macrocarpa tree in two on a Morton Mains property on Thursday. Farmer Mike Withers estimated the tree used to be about 40m tall, "but not any more".

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