Dry, warm Christmas to round out the year

Dry, warm Christmas to round out the year

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The BoM's Victorian outlook for the Christmas/new year period is pointing to a slightly warmer and drier fortnight than usual.

The BoM's Victorian outlook for the Christmas/new year period is pointing to a slightly warmer and drier fortnight than usual.

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The Bureau of Meteorology's Victorian outlook for the Christmas/new year period is pointing to a slightly warmer and drier fortnight than usual.

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The Bureau of Meteorology's Victorian outlook for the Christmas/new year period (December 21-January 3) is pointing to a slightly warmer and drier fortnight than usual.

While a little rain is likely in the hills to the east of Melbourne, in the Otways and across the high country, most areas are likely to have a fairly dry fortnight.

Meanwhile, maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average, particularly in the north.

Nights are likely to be around a degree cooler than usual for much of the state - great for a sleep-in.

For the nation overall, so far 2019 has been a year of extremes.

It was Australia's driest November and spring on record, and the second driest January-November on record, behind January-November 1902.

Australian daytime temperatures have also been very warm - second highest on record for mean maximum temperature - adding to the moisture stress.

While rainfall for the four months from August to November 2019 was the lowest on record for parts of north-east NSW and south-east Queensland, it was in the driest 10 per cent of records for parts of northern Victoria and East Gippsland.

Serious rainfall deficiencies for the first 11 months of the year extend between the NSW Tablelands and the Central District in Victoria, as well as central Gippsland.

November root zone soil moisture was below average in Victoria's east but above average in parts of the west.

November extended the run of dry months this year and soil moisture for January-November 2019 was below average over the eastern half of Victoria and in the north-west.

Rainfall anomalies at longer timescales are very deep due to the prolonged nature of the current dry period, with below average rainfall over most months over much of the country since early 2017.

Consistent, widespread, above average rainfall over several months will be needed to lift areas out of deficiency and provide relief from the impacts of this long period of low rainfall.

Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies for the 20 months from April 2018 to November 2019 stretch across northern Victoria and most of the eastern half of the state.

Parts of south-west Australia, and large parts of south-east and eastern Australia including parts of south-east Queensland and southern and eastern NSW have seen substantial declines in cool season rainfall in recent decades.

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