Soil moisture improves

Recent rainfall has seen increases in soil moisture for much of south-eastern Australia. Except for East Gippsland and south-western Victoria, soil moisture levels are above average for water catchments across most of the State, increasing the chance of runoff occurring. Catchment soils through much of central and western New South Wales also now have above average moisture levels for March to date.

Many farm dams are now full providing critical supplies for stock, but major irrigation storages in New South Wales have seen minimal inflows. While recent rain hasn't seen the rise in some major dam levels we're hoping for, it has wetted up key catchment areas, such as the Upper Murray. This means that additional rainfall is more likely to lead to inflows, whereas February rainfall went into the soil.

The latest streamflow outlook has improved with the recent rainfall—average to above average streamflows from March to May are likely at some southern Victorian and eastern New South Wales sites.

Although parts of southeast Australia have had very wet start to 2020, and an early autumn break, the drought is not over. long-term rainfall deficiencies remain in a number of regions and are still having an impact on regional communities. Several months of above average rainfall may be required to replenish water storages and streamflows.

The three-month April to June rainfall outlook shows slightly increased chances of above average rainfall for parts of Victoria and New South Wales. But much of the mainlands southeast has roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier three months ahead. It's not the 'wet' outlook some people might be hoping for to recover some of the longer-term rainfall deficit.

However, the outlook's accuracy is lower for some parts of south-eastern Australia at this time of year, so some caution should be exercised when using this outlook.

At the same time, there is no shift towards either warmer or cooler than average days for most of Victoria, but almost the whole country is likely to have warmer than average nights for April to June.

Recent Weather Updates

  • Wettest autumn in decades | 29/05/2020  

    Most of Victoria has been wetter than average this autumn so far, and it is only parts of the far east that have been drier than usual.

  • Chance of a double whammy | 15/05/2020  

    The chance of a wetter than average winter is strengthening for parts of the State.

  • Wetter winter likely for the north | 24/04/2020  

    A wet start to 2020 means root zone soil moisture for this time of year is above average for most of Victoria except for parts of the southwest and East Gippsland.