NSW under a dry spellTristan Meyers, Wednesday February 10, 2016 - 10:43 EDT
Overall, this last week has been the driest spell since about mid-December in NSW. This marks a strong contrast to the record-breaking January rainfall.
Usually, moisture is funneled into western and central NSW by low pressure troughs. In summer, there is a trough that is commonly seen to pendulum across the east over the nation. However, this trough has failed to bring much showery activity recently due to an inactive monsoon over the Top End and northern Queensland. If the monsoonal rain becomes established, we should begin see more activity across the inland. However, the remainder of February looks to tend drier-than-average over the northern tropics, meaning it could be a month or more before we see widespread rain in NSW.
This lack of moisture has allowed heat to build, particularly across the west. A low-intensity heatwave is spanning across western parts of the state. Places such as Wilcannia, Menindee and Pooncarie are already in the midst of a run of sun-baked 40-degree days, set to continue into the weekend. The worst of the heat will then migrate to northern parts of the state by Saturday. On this day, 35-degree heat will be felt north of the Young area, with the Moree region potentially reaching 40. Thankfully, a cool change should bring relief across the south from Saturday and the north by Monday.
The heat spell will cause evaporation to spike in this period, drying out soil and potentially dropping the dam levels in places. This could also bring a rise in fire danger in some districts, particularly over the weekend with stronger westerly-component winds.
There is then the potential for the strongest cold front in quite some time to hit NSW during Tuesday 16th/Wednesday 17th. It looks to bring a pool of relatively dry and cold air. This could cause an outbreak of early-spring type conditions, with sunny skies and temperatures less than 5 degrees below the average for this time of year by this time next week.
© Weatherzone 2016
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