News

Dry and hot conditions dominate 2019

By Rodney Woods

2019 will be remembered for its hot and dry conditions, as many centres sweltered through 46-plus degree days and nowhere near enough rain fell to compensate the high water prices farmers were paying to irrigate their farms.

The year began with records tumbling as Shepparton (46.2°C), Deniliquin (47.2°C), Echuca (46.9°C), Mangalore (46.3°C), Benalla (44.8°C), Tocumwal (46.5°C) and Tatura (44.8°C) all recorded their hottest January days on record.

Similar temperatures were also recorded in these centres on December 20.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the significant heatwaves in January 2019 contributed to Australia's warmest summer on record.

The high temperatures, "which is almost certain to be amongst the four warmest years on record for Australia", were coupled with below average rainfall figures as the bureau predicts annual rainfall for Australia is likely to be in the driest 10 years on record.

Of the towns looked at in this region, Deniliquin (228.4 mm) recorded the least amount, with Shepparton (230.8 mm) not far behind.

Echuca (243.2 mm), Tatura (252.2 mm) and Tocumwal (285.9 mm) were next, while Mangalore (328.6 mm) and Benalla (353.6 mm) recorded more than 300 mm.

Looking ahead, and the rainfall outlook for January to March this year indicates most of the country will have roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three months.

“While outlooks for drier than average conditions ease heading into 2020, several months of above average rainfall would be needed to see a recovery from current long-term rainfall deficiencies,” the bureau's three-month outlook said.

RAINFALL FIGURES FROM 2010, 2015 AND 2019 COMPARED:

2010

Shepparton – 770.6 mm

Deniliquin – 706.2 mm

Echuca – 671.4 mm

Mangalore - 895.4 mm

Benalla – 945.7 mm

Tocumwal – 743.4 mm

Tatura - 776.4 mm

2015

Shepparton – 364.2 mm

Deniliquin – 323.6 mm

Echuca – 239.1 mm

Mangalore – 344.2 mm

Benalla – 471.8 mm

Tocumwal – 424.8 mm

Tatura – 367 mm

2019

Shepparton - 230.8 mm

Deniliquin – 228.4 mm

Echuca - 243.2 mm

Mangalore – 328.6 mm

Benalla 353.6 mm

Tocumwal - 285.9 mm

Tatura – 252.2 mm