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More rain on the way as parts of NSW recover from drought

Ben Domensino, Wednesday April 8, 2020 - 10:22 EST

More than 15 percent of NSW has come out of drought since the end of last year, with more useful rain on the way in the coming days.

NSW had its driest and hottest year on record in 2019. At the start of 2020, 100 percent of the state was in drought and water storages were running low in the east and west.

Fortunately, the opening months of 2020 have seen welcome rain returning to large areas of southeastern Australia, allowing parts of NSW to recover from drought.

According to the Department of Primary Industries, just over 15 per cent of NSW was categorised as either Non Drought (10.7 per cent) or Recovering (4.6 per cent) from drought at the end of last week. Of the remaining 84.7 per cent that was still drought-declared, 7.4 per cent was in Intense Drought, the most severe category.

Image: Combined Drought Indicator categories in NSW on April 5th, 2020. Source: NSW DPI

The pockets of NSW that have recovered from drought in recent months are mainly around the Greater Sydney region and in far western NSW. This recovery has included the first significant inflows into the Menindee Lakes since 2017.

But while the trend of drought-recovery has been good to see in some parts of the state, many areas of NSW still have a long way to go. The rainfall deficiencies that built up over the last several years will take months of above average rain to eradicate.

Fortunately, there will be some rain in the coming days. A low pressure trough and cold front, interacting with a mass of moisture-laden air, will produce showers and thunderstorms over NSW between Thursday and Saturday.

Image: Forecast accumulated rain between Wednesday and Saturday according to the ECMWF-HRES model.

This system should deliver widespread falls of more than 10mm in western, central and southern NSW. In addition to the rain, blustery winds will accompany the passage of the cold front on Saturday, with damaging gusts possible in some areas.

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