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Dry and warm first quarter in NSW

Ben Domensino, Wednesday April 4, 2018 - 10:13 EST

Much of western NSW has continued a notably dry and warm start to 2018 during March.

Last month was the state's seventh warmest March in 109 years of records, while rainfall was 37 per cent below the long-term average when averaged across NSW.

The first three months of 2018 have now all seen below average rainfall and above average temperatures across NSW.

Statewide averaged rainfall was 54 per cent below average in January and about 36 per cent below average in February.

Tamworth Airport's 67mm during the first three months of 2018 makes this their driest start to a year since 1965. Dubbo is also having its driest start to a year in 23 years of records after picking up just 35mm between January and March, while Cobar's 12mm in this time makes this their driest start to a year since 2005.

In terms of average maximum temperatures so far this year, NSW experienced its 3rd warmest January, 15th warmest February and 7th warmest March in more than 109 years of records.

Unsurprisingly, a lack of early year rainfall and enhanced evaporation from unusually warm days has left many areas of central and western NSW with a notable depletion of soil moisture.

The year-to-date root zone soil moisture is in the bottom 10 per cent of historical records for many areas on and west of the central and southern ranges in NSW.

This depletion of soil moisture so far in 2018 in also being felt across adjacent areas in Victoria, South Australia and southern Queensland.

The latest seasonal outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at the end of March indicates that there is a near-equal chance of both above and below average rainfall and temperatures during the next three months.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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