Ski fields didn’t have as much snow as they’d like last year and it wasn’t just the ski season that was affected.
Less snow on the mountains meant less snow melt to feed rivers and underground aquifers.
That combined with drought over summer and into autumn to put a lot of farms under severe pressure.
Good dumpings of snow a couple of weeks ago and the follow up in the last two days is good for ski fields, aquifers, rivers and farming.
But it’s not all good news. Met Service is forecasting the return of El Niño that could dent agricultural production:
. . .The El Nino weather pattern that meteorological forecasters are predicting this year is likely to reduce New Zealand’s agricultural output, based on historic data, economists at Bank of New Zealand say.
Historic data compiled by BNZ suggests a positive co-relation between New Zealand’s agricultural growth and the Southern Oscillation Index, a standardised index of sea level pressure differences between Tahiti and Darwin that is used to determine whether El Nino or La Nina is present.
The index dropped below 15 in May, a level that indicates the coming of El Nino. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this month that the Pacific Ocean has officially entered into an El Nino pattern that has a 70 percent chance to last through the southern winter and spring.
El Nino typically increases the likelihood of drought in the east of New Zealand as a result of the strong frequent winds it brings from the west and south west, BNZ said. . .
Winters are supposed to be cold but cold weather continuing into spring holds back growth and a continuation of drought will hit farms and those who depend on them hard.
Most farms and businesses can get through one season of drought but a second one or a continuation of the first puts even the best under a lot of pressure.