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New Zealand farmers relieved as deluge breaks country's most widespread drought in 30 years

New Zealand's farmers are relieved that a deluge has ended the country's most widespread drought in 30 years.

Rain continued to fall Monday in a downpour that has lasted three days. The country's meteorological agency MetService says the city of Tauranga was soaked with more than 21 centimeters (8.3 inches) of rain over the weekend, which caused some flooding.

The drought began in December and extended over all of the North Island.

Farmers estimate it cost them 2 billion New Zealand dollars ($1.7 billion) in lost export earnings after they reduced their herds and cut back on milk production. That translates to about 1 percent of the economy.

Government officials have kept in place an official drought designation, which will allow farmers to keep receiving temporary financial assistance.