Drought set to intensify into spring: BOM

Christopher Davidson
September 1, 2018

The season is looking similar to this year's autumn in Perth, which was the driest in nine years and the warmest in six years.

"A drier and warmer than average spring would likely mean intensification of the existing drought conditions across parts of eastern Australia and an increase in bushfire potential", the BoM says in its outlook, released Thursday.

Dry conditions that have taken hold over much of NSW, such as this farm near Mudgee, are forecast to extend into Victoria.

But the bureau said the west coast - the country's largest agricultural producing region - will also experience drier than average weather over the next three months, tightening national supply yet further.

"There was some welcome rain in some parts of the south and the south-east there but unfortunately those more western areas that have been hit by drought quite a lot over the past decades, unfortunately those areas didn't get the rainfall they needed".

Low rainfall is likely and warmer than average overnight minimums are also predicted.

Across the country, temperatures also are likely to be warmer than average.

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There is little chance of rainfall in spring.

Why is it so dry?

"Like all Australians, all of us at the BoM are hoping those affected by the drought will get the rain they need soon", BoM manager of long range forecasting Andrew Watkins said.

"We're anticipating that the spring is more likely to be above average, in terms of temperatures, both for night-time and daytime temperatures", Mr Bennett said.

The BoM said the drier and warmer conditions through winter had occurred without the presence of an El Niño but there was double the normal risk of an El Niño forming in spring, which usually intensifies hot and dry weather.

At this point, any El Nino is likely to be "weak at worst", unlike the powerful event in 2015, Dr Watkins said.

"For example, in the past we've had strong El Nino events accompanied by mild and weaker El Nino events accompanied by severe conditions".

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