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    Rain recorded for Horsham in November more than doubled its average, with 70.2mm tallied.

Rain totals double

As areas across the Wimmera recorded rain which doubled monthly averages in a matter of days, the Bureau of Meteorology anticipates a neutral summer rain forecast.

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority chief executive David Brennan said the west of the catchment received more rain than the east in the final days of November. 

“Some locations recorded up to 100 millimetres of rain, which is significant, but there was variability across the catchment,” he said. 

“From a catchment perspective, the rain did not result in huge inflows or movement in rivers and creeks, but it has meant there is water in low spots.”

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Mr Brennan said the rain on the back of a dry spring allowed native vegetation to ‘freshen up’.

“There’s a tinge of green on the roadsides and in some paddocks, so it has had an impact on the landscape,” he said. 

“While it wasn’t welcomed by farmers, we had a dry spring as was the outlook with El Niño and people were questioning if it was the beginning of another drought.

“If we have more big rain events it will recharge the soil and take subsoil moisture into next year, so it wouldn’t be all bad.”

Mr Brennan said even when the long-term outlook or trend was dry, there was still the possibility of thunderstorms or rain systems. 

“It’s unusual but it happens. When there were floods in 2011, they occurred in January, so we know there can be variability in seasons,” he said. 

“We don’t know if we will have more stormy rain events this summer, but if we did get another amount similar to what we just had, it would be a big top-up and start to move water around the place.”

Regional records

Rain recorded for Horsham in November more than doubled its average, with 70.2mm tallied.

Horsham’s November average is 29.7mm.

Stawell recorded 39.8mm for the month, which is average for November, and Ararat recorded 28.3mm, tracking 120mm below average for the year-to-date.

More than 96mm was recorded in Nhill for the month, well above a 26.6mm average.

Warracknabeal continues to track 100mm below average for year-to-date with 24.6mm last month.

Edenhope recorded 57.4mm in November, 20mm above average.

Hopetoun recorded 59.8mm for the month, almost 30mm above average, but as is consistent across the region, the tally remains below average for the year-to-date.

The yearly rain total to date is about 140mm below average after a dry end to winter and start to spring.

Bureau of Meteorology national manager climate services Karl Braganza said forecasts leading into summer suggested average rainfall for large areas of eastern Australia.  

“The forecasts suggested the chance of average rainfall for parts of the east towards the end of spring and early summer, and we have seen some decent rainfall in November to finish off the spring season,” he said.  

 “Compared with outlooks issued mid-year, the dry signal has continued to ease across the eastern half of the continent outside of the tropics.” 

The Bureau indicated there was still an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires this summer. 

El Niño is predicted to continue during summer and its influence would vary across the country. 

Much of Australia has experienced a drier and warmer spring than usual, which is typical of El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole events. 

Dr Braganza said the dry and warm conditions during much of spring, along with the warm summer forecast, were still contributing to an elevated fire risk this summer. 

“This summer, all communities across Australia are urged to prepare for bushfire and monitor local conditions.”  

The entire December 6, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!