Relief on the way for dry PacificFriday December 7, 2012 - 08:30 EDT
Meteorologists are predicting the western Pacific should soon get some relief from the dry spell that has gripped the region.
The lack of rain is starting to have a major impact in some countries.
The OK Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea is facing closure because of low river levels.
Water supplies are being rationed in Samoa, while in Tonga and Niue levels are running low.
The climate and meteorology advisor to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, Neville Koop, told that rain could be on the way.
"Certainly back a few months ago we were looking like an El Nino would be likely, so this deficiency in rainfall can be associated with the movement of seawater that accompanied that.
"We are moving back towards more normal type rainfall, I would expect that they would start to see some rain fall around the Papua New Guinea region over the next few weeks.
Mr Koop said the western Pacific is experiencing rare weather conditions.
"Generally speaking the climate in the Pacific likes to be in either El Nino or La Nina and long periods in neutral are fairly uncommon," he said
© ABC 2012
More breaking news
Strengthening El Nino to reduce rainfall in northern and south-east Australia but wetter conditions for Western Australia
The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed the El Nino pattern is strengthening in the Pacific and is likely to persist into next year.
The former owner of the Grantham quarry that allegedly contributed to the fatal 2011 flood has said the western embankment beside the quarry was a natural landmark and not manmade.
The impact of the drought is expected to be the main theme as Queensland's bush councils hold a major conference today.