Here it comes! Nelson is bracing itself for a scorching summer thanks to the most severe El Nino weather pattern in at least 18 years brewing.
El Nino is a cyclical weather pattern that occurs at intervals of around two to seven years, when weakening trade winds cause the Pacific Ocean to heat up.
The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) says there's a 99 percent probability of El Nino conditions continuing over the next three months, intensifying along the way. Soil moisture levels are already falling in eastern regions with signs the weather event may be the worst since 1998, NIWA says.
Met Service agreed the El Nino weather pattern would bring unusually dry conditions and hot temperatures to the Nelson area with a good chance of achieving record highs.
This could play havoc with dairy farmers and other agricultural producers with many farmers still struggling to cope with the effects of last year's drought. Federated Farmers Golden Bay president Sue Brown said more prolonged dry weather would see farmers driven towards measures like slaughtering surplus stock. Orchard manager Evan Heywood said the lack of rain would hurt fruit growers in areas such as Waimea where the water supply was limited.
However there is an upside for Nelson. Local tourism operators are predicting a boom in business as travellers flock to the region to soak up the sun. Motels and lodges like Century Park in Nelson are likely to experience a busy summer.
Chief executive of Nelson-Tasman Tourism Lynda Keene said a sunny weather pattern was great news for tourism. "When the region has long, sunny, and windless days it really adds to everyone feeling upbeat. Good weather…is always good for retailers, wineries, breweries, food producers, and tourism operators."
So all the more reason to visit us at Century Park Motor Lodge this summer. Soak up the warmth, see the sights and relax in our luxury, air conditioned accommodation.