From bad to worse: Bureau predicting drought to continue into spring

ON IT GOES: The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a dry spring.
ON IT GOES: The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a dry spring.

The drought savaging Orange’s farmers – and those across much of eastern Australia – is likely to intensify in coming months, with odds favouring a continuation of below-average rain and warmer-than-normal temperatures.

The Bureau of Meteorology's first outlook for spring indicate the chances are particularly high that relatively dry conditions will persist through September and October.

“A dry and warm spring would mean intensification of the existing drought conditions across parts of eastern Australia,” the bureau said.

GRAPHIC: The chance of exceeding median maximum rainfall – September to November, 2018:

The news will not be welcomed as authorities muster aid for drought-hit farmers and step up preparations for a busy bushfire season that is already well under way in parts of NSW.

“It's a similar stubborn pattern” that has persisted for some time, Robyn Duell, acting manager of the bureau's long-range forecasting service, said.

“It's not likely we're going to see respite” in regions where farmers have been seeing drought and where fire risks have been elevated.

A dry spring for eastern Australia would follow what's likely to be the driest first eight months of the year for NSW since 1965.

“I don't want to get more negative but I'm not seeing anything pushing for an increase in rain,” Craig McIntosh, a meteorologist with www.weatherzone.com.au, said.

“It's more like the other way.”

GRAPHIC: Chance of exceeding median maximum temperature – September to November, 2018:

Daytime temperatures are expected to be above-average each month in spring.

“At this time of year, [such conditions] increase evaporation and exacerbate dry periods,” Ms Duell said.

“It's been an unusually dry winter, and obviously this [forecast] is not what you want.”

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