Severe dry conditions are spreading beyond NSW and Queensland and across southern Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology warns.
Recent rain has failed to ease drought conditions in NSW and Queensland, while severe rain shortages are emerging in other states, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.
The BoM’s latest assessment shows widespread rain in NSW and Queensland last month eased the problem in some places but had no impact on a two-year drought across large areas of Queensland and northern NSW.
“The rain that we’ve had has been a real godsend along the east coast in particular. But once one moves inland the totals were pretty meagre,” BoM climate monitoring and prediction manager David Jones told AAP.
Dr Jones said severe dries have emerged in western Victoria, eastern South Australia and the Gascoyne regions over the past two years.
“We have started to see an expansion of dry conditions in 2014.
“Parts of Victoria have had a really dry year.
“Southwest WA, extending up to the Gascoyne, has seen dry conditions.”
Some eastern parts of South Australia have also been affected.
An El Nino weather pattern, similar to the Millennium drought, could be developing in southern Australia, Dr Jones said.
“At the moment, we’ve only seen two years, so it’s not comparable to the 12 to 14-year drought we had. But certainly there are signs there that we should be concerned about.
“We’ve been right on the cusp of an El Nino event for much of the year and it’s not surprising, with those conditions, that we are seeing this widespread dry.”
Little relief is in sight, Dr Jones said, with a predicted drier and warmer spring in much of southern Australia.