Wetter half of March for southern WA, north dries out

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The second half of March is likely to be wetter than average for southern WA, while the north of the State is likely to dry out after ex-tropical Cyclone Esther tore through.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlook forecast showed a 60-75 per cent chance of up to 10mm of rain across a south coastal strip from Margaret River to Eucla between March 16-29.

Some farming areas, starting at Margaret River and including Quindanning, Katanning, Broomehill, Pingrup, Ravensthorpe, Esperance, and across to Beaumont could receive up to 10mm.

Inland areas north of Ravensthorpe and Esperance could also receive 10mm — including East Newdegate, Cascade, Salmon Gums, and Norseman, between March 16 and 29.

BoM has also predicted 10-25mm to fall at most WA Wheatbelt areas in April, with falls of 25-50mm along the South West and the coast near Albany.

However, a centre strip from Lake Grace to Merredin, up to Morawa and into the Murchison may only receive 5-10mm in April.

The April to June forecast shows 50-100mm of rainfall across most of WA’s grain growing areas, with falls of 100-200mm at Esperance in the east, Mount Barker in the south, and heading north to Katanning, Narrogin, Northam, Moora, Geraldton and Chapman.

The BoM noted that accuracy was often lower during May to June, “so some caution should be exercised when using this outlook”.

While recent rainfall in eastern Australia eased the dry in many areas, long-term rainfall deficiencies remain in a number of regions.

BoM said several months of above average rainfall would be required to replenish water storages in the east.

Major climate drivers, like the El Nino-Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole, are neutral and likely to remain neutral through autumn and early winter.

When these major climate drivers are neutral, widespread above or below average seasonal rainfall is less likely.

Read the full weather report in next week’s Countryman.

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