Wagga Riverina drought relief unlikely with El Nino predicted by BoM

Rainfall outlook for November 2018 to January 2019. Picture: Bureau of Metereology.
Rainfall outlook for November 2018 to January 2019. Picture: Bureau of Metereology.

A forecast of bad horizons may be on its way for the region, after the Bureau of Meteorology released its latest report indicating spring and summer will see lower than average rainfall, and higher temperatures.

According to information circulated on Tuesday October 9, there is now a 70 per cent chance a season of El Nino will arrive by the end of 2018. That is three times the regular threat level during the Riverina spring.

El Nino typically worsens a drought, as warm waters gather in the eastern Pacific Ocean to compete with cooler waters along Australia’s east coast. 

It does not bode well for the Riverina, with the Bureau of Meterology indicating the most adverse affects will be felt in southern NSW, the report reading “current drought areas are unlikely to see respite at this point.”

“What this means for the three month outlook is that there will likely be high temperatures and low rainful, beginning in October,” said Nigel Smedley, technical officer at Wagga’s Bureau of Meteorology office.

“We can’t do much about the weather, it does what it wants. But it’s important to stress that it’s not El Nino yet.”

The situation is not yet assured though. The Bureau will know how the weather pattern is tracking on October 23, when the next atmospheric update is available.

“Things get upgraded and down graded all the time,” said Mr Smedley.

Nevertheless, a forecast of lower rainfall is hardly helpful in a year that has already seen so little.

The total rainfall in the past 10 months is sitting at 243.8mm, which is 235mm below the average expected by October.

This month has also tracked well below average, with only 12.8mm so far. Down from the usual 56.8mm. 

“It’s hard to say how it will look for us and it is important to say that this is only a guideline of what might happen,” said Mr Smedley.

“Weather works in likelihoods, not definite [outcomes]. There’s still some chance it won’t happen at all.”

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