Drought affected towns in NSW receive good rainfall in February

The falls have been widespread across most parts of the region. Photo: Kelly Godwin.
The falls have been widespread across most parts of the region. Photo: Kelly Godwin.

The wet weather across western NSW has resulted in many drought-affected towns already exceeding the long-term rainfall average just 13 days into February.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Dubbo received a total of 68.6 millimetres of rain in the first 13 days of February, well above the monthly average of 40.5mm

The Trangie Agricultural Research Station recorded 93mm of rain during the same period, again surpassing the monthly average of 49.6mm. In Wellington, 65mm of rain fell, well above the monthly average of 50.9mm.

Walgett, which has been in drought for four years, received a good drenching, with the town's airport recording a whopping 82.4mm of rain, truly surpassing the monthly average of 47.7.

While the recent rain at Brewarrina has not yet exceeded the monthly rainfall average of 47.5mm just yet, it is more than halfway there with a total of 27.1mm recorded just in the first 13 days.

In the same period at Parkes, a total of 78.6mm of rain has been recorded, well above the monthly average of 57.2mm.

BoMs head of long-range forecasts Dr Andrew Watkins said while the rain has been above average during the the first two weeks of February, the end of the month wasn't looking as promising.

"The second half of the month is looking drier than average," he said.

The forecast for March is also looking average to drier than average and similarly for April.

"There's no strong swing towards a wet or dry autumn unfortunately", Dr Watkins added. "Our climate drivers are a bit in the middle at the moment there's nothing really significant that is going to hit Australia at least until the end of autumn."

While the 2019 scorching summer broke NSW records in regards to temperatures and drieness, Dr Watkins said it doesn't look like we'll be experiencing that again.

BoMs climate outlook said while recent heavy rainfall over eastern NSW has eased the dry in some areas, regions further inland require several months of above average rainfall to bring them out of drought.

It also forecasts the chances of a wetter or drier than average autumn (March to May) are roughly equal for large parts of Australia.

Days and nights are also likely to be warmer than average from March to June, increasing the chance of heatwaves and elevating bushfire risk in the coming months.

Although parts of the northern Murray-Darling Basin have a slightly increased chance of being drier than average.

While the change in weather has been welcomed, the Minister for Agriculture says it's nowhere near drought-breaking.

"It's bloody brilliant to see parts of the State record their best rainfall numbers in years and at this stage of drought, every millimetre of moisture counts," Adam Marshall said.

"For some lucky farmers dams have been filled and water availability in catchments has improved, meaning producers may be able to scale back hand feeding or start looking at restocking as pastures recover.

"However a drought doesn't break overnight. We need to see consistent widespread falls over many months before we can start talking about recovery."