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Rain deficit worsening in western NSW

Ben Domensino, Wednesday May 23, 2018 - 16:08 EST

NSW, like most of Australia, has been stuck in a stagnant weather pattern for the last week, with a high pressure system to the south of the country blocking cold fronts from bringing any substantial rainfall.

For the week ending at 9am on May 23rd, virtually all of NSW registered no rainfall. During this time, only light falls were observed along the state's north coast and on parts of the western slopes and ranges.

Despite some better rain (and snow) in southern NSW a couple of weeks ago, most of NSW has received less than half of its average May rainfall so far this month.

Many northern and eastern districts are running below 20 per cent of their long-term monthly average for May. Making matters worse, this comes after the state's driest April since 2005 and a drier than average March, February and January.

The most notable absence in rainfall so far this year has been west of the ranges.

Broken Hill's 8.2mm of rain between the start of January and 9am today makes this its driest start to a year on record. It's also been the driest start to a year on record at the Cobar Meteorological Office, with only 10mm of rain in the gauge to date. Data for this site goes back to 1962.

Sydney is currently having its driest start to a year since 2006, registering 311mm since the beginning of the year. This is well below the long-term average of 597mm between January and May.

The recent stable and dry weather pattern is expected to continue across NSW into the final week of May. Some forecast models indicate that a significant front may cross the state early next week, although there isn't enough consensus between models to have much confidence in significant rain from this system this just yet. It's one to keep an eye on at this stage.

Looking further ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology's winter outlook indicates that rainfall is expected to be below average across much of NSW during June and July, while temperatures are likely to be above average for most of the state.

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