Storms and heavy rain continue to ravage Dubbo in what has been the city’s wettest March in three years.
Dubbo is well on track to threaten a 16-year record of 142.4 millimetres set in March 2014, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicting another wet week ahead.
More than 117mm has been recorded at the Dubbo Airport AWS come 4.30pm on Monday to rank it within the top five wettest March months in the last 20 years.
The BOM has predicted more rain for Dubbo with an 80 per cent chance of up to 40mm of rain today, a further six on Wednesday and a top of 25mm on Thursday.
The rain comes as a welcome relief for landholders after a dry start to the year with 14.8mm of rain in January and a record-breaking 1.6mm recorded in February.
According to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) almost 70 per cent of NSW received below average rainfall during February.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Seasonal Conditions Coordinator Ian McGowen said the summer heat continued through to the end of the season, with well above average daytime temperatures, particularly during the first half of February.
Dubbo’s hottest daily temperature in February was 46.1 degrees on the 11th with the monthly average sitting at 36.4 degrees. To date in March the highest daily maximum was 34.6 degrees on March 12, and the lowest 24.7 degrees on March 13.
“Many parts of the state experienced their driest February on record, with areas of western and central NSW receiving little or no rainfall,” Mr McGowen said.
“Most of the far west, north west, central west and central tablelands received below average rainfall, as well as areas of the upper Hunter valley, north coast, southern and northern tablelands, Monaro and western Riverina.
“Above average rainfall was limited to areas of the Sydney basin and Illawarra, and isolated parts of the southern and northern tablelands.
“Pasture growth was low across most of NSW during February, due to the well above average temperatures, high evaporation and low rainfall.
“The extremely hot conditions and limited rainfall meant topsoil moisture levels declined across NSW during the month.”
Mr McGowen said a number of climate models are suggesting the possibility of drier autumn and winter conditions, with an increased risk of an El Niño event developing during winter.
“Model skill is low at this time of year, so an El Niño event may not eventuate,” Mr McGowen said.
“However, some preparation for a possibly drier season is worthwhile, particularly in inland NSW.”