BOM predicts dry, hot autumn

Australia can expect a drier-than-average autumn, worsening a drought that is already devastating farmers and country areas. The Bureau of Meteorology’s season outlook flags a high chance of above-average temperatures nationwide, while the only exceptions to a below-average rainfall forecast are parts of inland WA. It follows the warmest summer on record, with all areas apart from north Queensland falling short of their seasonal rainfall average. Northern NSW was particularly dry and Tasmania saw very little rain from late December through to early last month. Many farmers have described the drought as they worst they have seen, and they have cut back on insurance policies to save money. Brokerages with branches in rural areas have told they are working closely with clients to maintain cover while cutting broker fees and arranging policy discounts. Neither of Australia’s two main climate drivers – El Nino and the Indian Ocean Dipole – are influencing the outlook to any significant degree, the bureau says. Cooler-than-average water off WA may reduce the number of rain-bearing systems in southern Australia. “Autumn is obviously a critical time of year for agriculture, particularly in the southern parts of the country,” bureau Manager of Long-Range Forecasting Andrew Watkins said 

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