Bureau predicts a dry autumn

By Country News

Difficult conditions look set to continue, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a dry autumn.

The news will bring little relief to farmers, who have seen less than 100mm of rain in the past three months, and comes off the back of the country’s warmest summer on record and one of the 10 driest on record.

The bureau’s 2019 Autumn Outlook shows a high chance of drier than average conditions for most of the country’s east, and warmer than average conditions for the entire country.

The forecast says much of northern Victoria and just over the Murray River — including Shepparton, Deniliquin, Echuca and Kerang — have a 75 per cent chance of receiving only 25mm to 50mm for the whole of autumn.

The outlook is slightly better to the east and south, with Benalla, Yarrawonga and Seymour expected to receive between 50mm and 100mm for the season.

Those hoping for an autumn break may be disappointed, with the bureau predicting a 45 to 55 per cent chance of the region receiving at least 10mm in March.

Bureau long-range forecasting manager Andrew Watkins admitted the outlook was not the news many would be wanting to hear.

‘‘Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t giving a strong indication that we’ll see above average rainfall in many areas over the autumn period,’’ Dr Watkins said.

‘‘Autumn is obviously a critical time of year for the agriculture sector in parts of the country.

‘‘It’s important to remember that despite what the outlook is suggesting, individual heavy rainfall events are always possible, and people should stay up-to-date with the latest seven-day forecast and warnings for their area.’’

The outlook also shows a strong chance of warmer than average conditions continuing into and throughout autumn.

Victoria continued to sweat through a heatwave as autumn kicked-off on Friday.

Across the state temperatures have varied from the mid-30s to 41°C for the past week, and were set to continue until milder conditions on Wednesday.

Bureau senior climatologist Blair Trewin said there was ‘‘persistent and extreme heat’’ throughout much of summer, particularly in December and January.