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Showers ahead for eastern NSW but remaining dry in the west

Ben Domensino, Wednesday September 19, 2018 - 10:57 EST

Showers and thunderstorms will affect some northern and eastern parts of NSW during the next week, although there's little rain in sight for the state's parched west.

A cold front sweeping across NSW will produce a few spring storms about the northern coast and ranges of NSW on Wednesday and Thursday. A large high pressure system following this front will bring mostly dry weather across the state from now until Saturday, before another front causes more widespread showers and storms in eastern NSW during Sunday and Monday.

Fronts like these would usually cause some rain in western NSW at this time of year, although once again, most inland areas will be missing out this time around.

This week's weather, like that of the last few months, is being affected by relatively cool waters at the surface of the eastern Indian Ocean. When sea surface temperatures to the northwest of Australia are cooler than average at this time of year, less moisture is evaporated into the atmosphere and carried across our continent. Without this moisture source, there's limited fuel for rainfall when cold fronts and low pressure troughs pass over western NSW and the Murray Darling Basin.

This lack of moisture in recent months has caused some places in western NSW to experience one of their driest years to date on record.

Broken Hill's running annual total of 24.6mm as of 9am on Wednesday was its lowest to this point in the year since 1927 and the second lowest in more than 120 years of records.

Wanaaring's 45.8mm of rain to date is its lowest total to this point in the year since 1982.

Further east, Parkes was only up to 137.4mm as of 9am on Wednesday, making this its driest year to date since 1902 and the second driest on record.

All eyes are now on the Pacific Ocean to see if an El Nino will develop in the months ahead and if it does, just how strong it will be. El Nino can cause below average rain in eastern and northern Australia during spring.

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