Topic: Weather

El Nino predicted to cause worst drought in 50 years

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The current El Nino weather pattern is bringing with it warnings of a drought for the Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa region, predicted to be the worst in 50 years.

The conditions being compared to the 1997-98 national drought that cost New Zealand more than $400 million, with climate experts saying the current El Nino weather pattern has not reached its full potential yet.

"At the moment, this event is almost as strong as 1997/98 now, not quite, but getting there.  It's right up there in the category of the strongest events we've had in 50 years," says principal Scientist Brett Mullan of NIWA's Climate Centre.

It's expected that Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and the East Coast will be some of the driest areas in the country and farmers and growers are being urged to prepare now and put a plan in place.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries has published a brochure today with practical advice on how farmers can prepare for possible drier weather this summer," explains Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. 

The brochure includes advice on everything from how to implement a budget right through to how to look after your animals and family in challenging and dry conditions.

Councils are also advising people to be prudent with their water usage over the spring and summer months.