Get ready for rain dancing

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014
womad

Rain party forecast.

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It's going to be a wet Womad.

Forecasters have firmed up their predictions and say Taranaki will get a taste of the wild weather from Cyclone Lusi - starting tomorrow. It appears to dash hopes the festival would get away with a bit of rain on Sunday.

Lusi has left a major disaster in Vanuatu, a nation of 247,000 people, killing three, flooding coastal and low-lying communities and contaminating groundwater sources.

At noon yesterday, the storm was upgraded to a category 3 cyclone and was tracking south towards New Zealand.

MetService meteorologist John Law predicted today would be the end of the dry spell.

"It's the calm before the storm."

Mr Law said rain would start tomorrow and winds would sweep in from the east and could become gale force.

That's bad news for visitors to Womad who are camping.

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust chief executive Suzanne Porter said contingency plans were in place for campers.

"Last year we got rain all day Sunday but people just got into it - they just put rain jackets on, you just had to dance a bit more to keep warm."

Womad fan and Warea dairy farmer Ray Barron said farmers in the region badly needed rain.

"We are desperately dry here," he said. "I think it would be awesome, I can't wait for it to turn up to be quite honest.

"I don't want it to do a whole lot of damage but if we can get a bit of rain out of it, especially if we can get a bit of a follow up a week later, it would be awesome."

Mr Barron also hoped to get along to Womad but said it would depend on the weather.

"Hopefully we can get a bit of both, a couple of fine days and rain at the end of it would be nice, that would be pretty awesome, it would keep everyone happy - that way we would all be smiling," he said.

Taranaki Civil Defence said although the Metservice had not included Taranaki in its weather watch, it was monitoring the situation and would provide updates if things changed for the worse.

"Gale force winds may develop over the weekend, however, the speeds are expected to be similar to what Taranaki experiences at other times of the year," it said.

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