Enjoy the rain while it lasts
Friday, 30th May, 2014
By Nick Gibbs
Far Western NSW is in danger of entering an extended dry spell with low rainfall associated with the El Nino weather pattern expected to take hold by mid winter.
Local meteorologist Phil Mew said the effects may be felt in the district as soon as the first week of July.
“El Nino is definitely on its way,” he said.
“It’s not good; it means the rain will basically peter out.”
The last time Australia suffered through an El Nino began in 2001 and lasted eight years during one of the worst droughts on record.
“It’s not unusual to carry on for anything up to the stretch we had beginning in 2001,” Mr Mew said.
“Then again you can have an El Nino that only lasts 12 months.”
The conditions are the result of the warming of the Pacific Ocean and generally results in low air moisture and fewer cyclones.
During autumn, Broken Hill and the surrounding area has generally been on par with rainfall averages.
As of yesterday, the city had recorded 23.5mm for the month, just above the 22.3mm average.
Mr Mew described the sporadic rain and warmer than average weather as mirroring summer conditions.
“It’s very unusual to be recorded at this time of year,” he said.
BH has recorded 16 consecutive days with maximums above 20 degrees during May.
According to Cobar Weather Station Manager Trevor Menadue, several communities in the district had already broken records for the most successive maximums above 25 degrees.
Menindee and Tibooburra both recorded 14 day stretches with Ivanhoe 13 and Wilcannia 12 for the month.
Mr Menadue agreed the indicators pointed toward a good chance of an El Nino weather pattern developing later in the year.
He said predicting when it would be felt was difficult because it didn’t hit like a storm, but was the result of certain conditions over time.