Get ready for the heat

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Rod­ney Woods and Tara Whitsed

Whether the dry con­di­tions that have wreaked havoc for farm­ers in the south­ern Rive­rina and north­ern Vic­to­ria con­tinue re­mains to be seen, with the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy pre­dict­ing no strong push to­wards ei­ther a wet­ter or drier sum­mer pe­riod for the re­gion.

The bureau’s three-month cli­mate out­look is also fore­cast­ing likely warmer than av­er­age days and nights for al­most all of Aus­tralia for De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary.

Closer to home, Shep­par­ton’s me­dian rain­fall for the sum­mer pe­riod is 109 mm, which the na­tional fore­caster pre­dicts is an equal like­li­hood of hap­pen­ing or not.

While Echuca (65 mm), De­niliquin (75 mm), Mul­wala (91 mm), Sey­mour (96 mm) and El­more (78 mm) are also an equal like­li­hood of hap­pen­ing or not.

Be­tween De­cem­ber 2017 and Novem­ber 2018, Shep­par­ton has recorded just 308.8 mm of rain­fall, 135 mm less than its av­er­age across the same 12-month pe­riod.

Kerang recorded 230 mm, down from the long-term av­er­age of 376.7 mm, while Lake Eil­don recorded much closer to its yearly av­er­age rain­fall (838 mm com­pared to 848.5 mm).

The district is in line with the rest of the state, which is on track to have one of the top 10 dri­est springs since records be­gan in 1900, ac­cord­ing to the bureau’s 2018-19 Sum­mer Out­look.

Bureau long-range fore­cast­ing man­ager An­drew Watkins said con­di­tions had gen­er­ally been quite dry through­out the state and it was likely to see a hot­ter-thannor­mal sum­mer pe­riod.

‘‘It has been par­tic­u­larly warm dur­ing Oc­to­ber — about the sixth warm­est on record,’’ Dr Watkins said.

The out­look also showed there was an 80 per cent chance of ex­ceed­ing nor­mal tem­per­a­tures in the next three months.

‘‘Sum­mer in Aus­tralia typ­i­cally brings hot tem­per­a­tures for many com­mu­ni­ties and the out­look in­di­cates this sum­mer will be no dif­fer­ent,’’ Dr Watkins said.

He said it also looked like El Nin˜ o would come into play, with the chance of an El Nin˜ o form­ing in 2018 sit­ting at 70 per cent, roughly triple the nor­mal risk.

An El Nin˜ o typ­i­cally brings drier and warmer con­di­tions to eastern Aus­tralia, but the rain­fall ef­fects tend to be less pro­nounced in the south dur­ing sum­mer.

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