Wait­ing for au­tumn rain By JUSTIN JENVEY

Myrtleford Times - - NEWS -

AF­TER above av­er­age rain­fall to­tals in the pre­vi­ous two months, Fe­bru­ary has been one of the dri­est on record.

Less than two mil­lime­tres of rain has been recorded across the Alpine Shire and it could be weeks un­til sig­nif­i­cant falls re­sult.

Bendigo based sea­sonal risk agron­o­mist for the Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Jobs, Trans­port and Re­sources Dale Grey said the sea­sonal break gen­er­ally hap­pens from any time in March and on av­er­age is some­where around An­zac Day.

“At the mo­ment the con­sen­sus is that the break­ing rain is likely to come in April,” he said.

Al­though tem­per­a­tures this month have been sim­i­lar to Jan­uary with the mer­cury reg­u­larly hit­ting the high 30s and even en­ter­ing the 40s the ma­jor dif­fer­ence has been the lack of rain.

Fol­low­ing a down­pour that brought about 30mm of rain on the fi­nal day of Jan­uary, rain has fallen on just a few days since.

Rain reg­is­tered at TAFCO’s Pore­punkah weather sta­tion three times, the lat­est ex­actly a week ago with 1.4mm last Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

In Myrtle­ford the only sprin­kle, 0.6mm came on Fe­bru­ary 4, while in the Kiewa Val­ley TAFCO’s Co­ral Bank lo­ca­tion has seen rain­fall just twice, to­talling 0.8mm.

The fig­ures are in stark con­trast to last Fe­bru­ary when around 100mm was recorded in Myrtle­ford and Pore­punkah and just un­der 50mm at Co­ral Bank and were above nor­mal with the av­er­age rain­fall for Fe­bru­ary just below 65mm ac­cord­ing to Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy sta­tis­tics from 1969 to 2013.

The low­est Fe­bru­ary to­tals recorded by the BoM were no rain for Myrtle­ford in 1926 and just 3mm for Bright in 1982 at their now de­funct weather sta­tions.

The hottest days this month came on Fe­bru­ary 25 for Myrtle­ford and Co­ral Bank with the tem­per­a­tures ris­ing to 41.2 de­grees and 36.8 de­grees re­spec­tively.

While the warm­est day for Pore­punkah came a day ear­lier on Fe­bru­ary 24, and peaked at 37.8 de­grees.

Mr Grey said even with Fe­bru­ary be­ing ex­tremely dry sum­mers are be­com­ing wet­ter while other sea­sons are also chang­ing.

“In many parts of Vic­to­ria au­tumn and spring is where we are see­ing de­fi­cien­cies in rain com­pared to the nor­mal and we are maybe see­ing a bit more sum­mer rain com­pared to nor­mal and win­ter might be close to or below nor­mal,” he said.

“We know three things go­ing for­ward, a wet­ter sum­mer and drier spring have been pre­dicted into the fu­ture and we seem to be see­ing that.

“A dry au­tumn is a bit more con­tentious as to what in fact is caus­ing that, we haven’t seen much ev­i­dence for what in par­tic­u­lar is caus­ing that later sea­sonal break so it could be some­thing that’s just vari­abil­ity or some­thing more per­ma­nent.

“A good early break in March or April used to hap­pen quite reg­u­larly in the past but seems to be evad­ing us.”

THE LONG DRY CON­TIN­UES: Crops be­ing wa­tered at Bar­widgee Creek on Mon­day as the long dry spell con­tin­ues to im­pact on farm­ers.

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