THOUGHT your September was crook?
There are now statistics to back it up, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declaring this September to be the driest on record, increasing longstanding rainfall deficiencies in drought impacted eastern Australia and hurtling southern Australia towards a similar predicament.
The BOM data showed the month was especially dry across the southern mainland.
Many parts of Victoria recorded their lowest September rainfall on record, with a number of north-western centres not recording 5mm for the month, compared to a long-term average of 20-50mm.
It all added up to the month being the driest September on record nationally, and the second driest September on record for Victoria, third driest for Western Australia, and fourth driest for South Australia.
The extent of the southern dry is reflected in rainfall totals in the lowest 10 percent of historical rainfall totals for the month in large areas including greater southwestern Western Australia (southwest of a line between about Geraldton and Esperance), South Australia from Ceduna east across the Eyre Peninsula and agricultural districts, much of the western half of New South Wales, and nearly all of Victoria except parts of South and West Gippsland.
It was a marginally better result in other parts of the country but not enough to make up the deep rainfall deficit.
Compared to other January to September periods since 1900, year-to-date rainfall has been the second lowest on record for the Murray–Darling Basin, third lowest for New South Wales, and eighth lowest for Victoria.
The area of severe rainfall deficiency now extends further into eastern and northern Victoria, eastern South Australia, inland southern Queensland, and south coast Western Australia than compared to periods ending August 2018.
Accompanying recent low rainfall have been unusually high day-time temperatures, which add to the impact of reduced rainfall, e.g. as seen through reduced soil moisture.
Australian maximum temperatures for 2018 to date have been the second warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.36 °C (behind 2013 with an anomaly of +1.54 °C).
Both New South Wales (+2.17 °C) and the Murray–Darling Basin (+2.10 °C) have experienced their warmest January–September period on record.
There has been relief for some, however, in early October.
Along with the news the threat of El Niño is lessening, a big cold front has delivered good rain across NSW in particular.
South-west NSW, one of the hardest hit areas by drought, received widespread falls of 25-50mm.
Menindee received 50mm in the deluge earlier this week. To put it into perspective, the far western town had only received 36mm for the entire year up until the downpour.