HOTTER and drier.
They may not be the words that farmers and the Central West community may want to hear, but they are the ones the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has used to describe the region’s forecast for the next few months.
The climate outlook for February to April released by the BoM on Thursday shows there is an 80 per cent chance of the Central West exceeding median maximum temperatures.
The same forecasting data also showed there was only a 35 per cent chance of exceeding the median long-term rainfall during the three month period.
BoM climatologist Dr Linden Ashcroft said with an El Nino yet to become established, local factors were driving this current outlook.
“The Pacific Ocean remains at near El Nino levels, but the atmospheric part of what we consider an El Nino event is not present, so an El Nino is yet to become established,” she said.
“The outlook is showing little of the influence from any of the typical Australia climate drivers meaning that local factors are largely affecting the outlook this time.”
Dr Ashcroft confirmed the likelihood of ongoing warm and dry conditions.
“Days and nights are very likely to be warmer than average across the country continuing what we’ve already experienced so far this summer,” she said.
“The rainfall outlook shows an increased chance of drier than average conditions for parts of the south-east “
Rivers and streams across the Central West are predicted to have continuing low flows.
“Low to near medium stream flows are likely for January to March across much of the country.”