Dry spell to drag on for NSW and southern Queensland

Brett Dutschke, 14 July 2019

Much of New South Wales and southern Queensland has not had rain for several days now and is likely to see little or none during the next week or so.

During the past week we have seen a return to frequent cold fronts which mainly impact Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, southern NSW and the ACT with strong winds, showers and highland snow but deliver very little of that further north.

Cold days are also a feature. Canberra has just had its coldest pair of days in three years, only reaching a maximum of 8.7 degrees this weekend, the city's coldest weekend in 15 years. Out in the wind it felt no warmer than five degrees (or just two degrees, depending on which formula you use or how soft you are).

Coastal and northern parts of NSW and southern Queensland get little more than dry winds and mostly clear skies due to a belt of high pressure securing itself tightly across the region. And with the weather pattern only very slowly changing shape we can expect the dry spell to persist.

This scenario means frost will be a feature inland, dam levels will drop and parks and gardens will dry out.

Frost can be expected as far north as the Queensland tropics.

This set-up is not unusual for this time of year but given the rainfall deficit much of the region has endured it will have a significant effect.

During the past 12 months, the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas have only gained about two thirds of their average rainfall (300-400mm below average) and Lightning Ridge, in the Darling River catchment, has only had about 40 percent of its annual average (a deficit of 290mm).

A transformation to relatively humid easterly winds appears to be a few weeks away, meaning any significant rainfall may only arrive near the end of July at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the west of the country is expected to continue to fare reasonably well rain wise. A decent rain-bearing front should impact late this week, one of several so far this winter. Perth has had its wettest winter to date in 14 years, gaining about 280mm so far.