Forbes and the entire Central West has sweltered through February and the start of March, as the country comes to grips of a record-breaking heat wave. Some areas have recorded their hottest start to Autumn in history, and above average temperatures are expected to hang around until April.
While the historical average maximum for March is 29 degrees, Forbes has seen daily average highs of 36 degrees so far this month. This followed a daily average of 34.1 degrees in February, up 1.5 degrees on the historical average.
While possible showers have been forecasted for Friday, the last two months have been very dry, with only 6.4mm of rain officially falling since February 1.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jake Phillips said the extreme weather was due to persistent high pressure in the atmosphere. “It’s largely due to a band of high pressure, which has been very static across the region, and that’s prevented any cold fronts from moving through,” he said.
“The most extreme conditions have been across the west and the south of the state.” While above average temperatures are expected to persist through March, the current El Nino weather pattern is expected to subside come April, and this means rain could return.
There is about a 30 per cent chance of a La Nina [wetter than normal conditions] forming later this year, but with long term forecasts currently suggesting El Nino [drier than normal conditions] is unlikely to reform,
the BOM stated no bad news is good news for local farmers.
“For the next six months there is no prediction of dryness for much of the South East going through for the next three months,” seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey said.