BoM predicting no strong push towards wetter or drier than average summer

By Country News

Whether the dry conditions that have wreaked havoc for farmers in the southern Riverina and northern Victoria continue remains to be seen, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting no strong push towards either a wetter or drier summer period for the region.

The bureau’s three-month climate outlook is also forecasting likely warmer than average days and nights for almost all of Australia for December to February.

Closer to home, Shepparton’s median rainfall for the summer period is 109mm, which the national forecaster predicts is an equal likelihood of happening or not.

While Echuca (65mm), Deniliquin (75mm), Mulwala (91mm), Seymour (96mm) and Elmore (78mm) are also an equal likelihood of happening or not.

Between December 2017 and November 2018, Shepparton has recorded just 308.8mm of rainfall, 135mm less than its average across the same 12-month period.

Kerang recorded 230mm, down from the long-term average of 376.7mm, while Lake Eildon recorded much closer to its yearly average rainfall (838mm compared to 848.5mm).

The district is in line with the rest of the state, which is on track to have one of the top 10 driest springs since records began in 1900, according to the bureau’s 2018-19 Summer Outlook.

Bureau long-range forecasting manager Andrew Watkins said conditions had generally been quite dry throughout the state and it was likely to see a hotter-than-normal summer period.

‘‘It has been particularly warm during October — about the sixth warmest on record,’’ Dr Watkins said.

The outlook also showed there was an 80 per cent chance of exceeding normal temperatures in the next three months.

‘‘Summer in Australia typically brings hot temperatures for many communities and the outlook indicates this summer will be no different,’’ Dr Watkins said.

He said it also looked like El Niño would come into play, with the chance of an El Niño forming in 2018 sitting at 70 per cent, roughly triple the normal risk.

An El Niño typically brings drier and warmer conditions to eastern Australia, but the rainfall effects tend to be less pronounced in the south during summer.