Growers are being warned to get prepared for the potential impacts of very dry conditions to come. It is expected the weather will take a dramatic turn in the next few weeks with an El Niño weather event likely to be declared. El Niño brings more frequent, dry westerly winds which heightens the risk of drought. Predictions are that it will be one of the strongest Aotearoa has experienced in 80 years. Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association president Brydon Nisbet said the past 18 months has been tough for the industry with severe storms and flooding, and while some dryer conditions are welcome for growers, it does bring other problems. El Nino will mean the eastern part of both islands, with the likes of Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, eastern Marlborough, Canterbury and parts of eastern Otago, could dry out and and rainfall could be considerably less than normal for this time of year in those regions.