Rainfall below average

By Country News

The dry start to the year continued into March with rainfall figures well below long-term averages.

And according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it is unclear whether the dry conditions will continue.

Only 5.4mm of rain was recorded in Shepparton for March, well below the average of 30.6mm, while Echuca (2.1mm) and Finley (1.4mm) recorded even less. The average March rainfalls for those two towns are 30.3mm and 32.6mm respectively.

Mangalore recorded 8.2mm compared to its March average of 35mm, while Benalla recorded 17.1mm despite its March average being 53.5mm.

Deniliquin was nearest its average, with 15.4mm recorded; its average is 23mm.

In terms of temperatures, NSW and Victoria recorded warmer nights and days than average and it was the warmest March on record for the country as a whole.

Looking forward, the bureau said there were no strong indications either way for a wetter or drier three months ahead, but days and nights were expected to be warmer than average.

According to the outlook, autumn break rainfall is likely to arrive on time or later than usual but this could change if an El Nino occurred.

The outlook is forecasting a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino occurring in 2019, three times the usual risk. If it does occur, it would increase the chances of drier conditions across the Goulburn Valley and southern Riverina.