Hay runs are becoming familiar sights on our highways again.
Much of the MidCoast local government area (LGA) has been officially drought declared, with the rest of the area being classified as drought affected (intensifying).
The NSW Department of Primary Industries October State Seasonal Update shows that drought is continuing to expand and intensify throughout NSW, with 52 per cent of the state in one of the three drought categories at the end of October.
"On ground conditions are consistent with the onset of a major drought in many regions across NSW," the State Seasonal Update says.
While Taree received above average rainfall in October, 2023 (128.2, the mean for October is 81.8), more follow-up rain is needed to take the region out of drought.
Streamflow data from WaterNSW also looks concerning.
Water levels measured at Killawarra on the Manning River are steadily declining, from 1.217 metres on February 1, 2023 to 0.593 metres on November 1, 2023.
Water flows at Killawarra peaked this year in March at 2502 megalitres a day (mL/D) and have steadily dropped down to 209.9 mL/D in October. This shows as less than 20 per cent flow on the WaterNSW Real Time Data map.
River flows in the Gloucester area are also low, with the Gloucester and Avon rivers at less than 20 per cent flow, and the Barrington River at 20-50 per cent flow.
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Maximum and minimum temperatures for October have been higher than averages, and the warm weather is predicted to persist throughout NSW.
A moderate to high chance of rainfall in Northern NSW is predicted from November through to January. Forecasts for rainfall for the rest of NSW vary between 40 to 65 per cent chance of average rainfall.
El Nino is still active, and the Indian Ocean Diapole is still positive and is likely to continue into December.
"When a positive IOD and El Nio occur together, their drying effect is typically stronger and more widespread across Australia," the State Seasonal Update says.
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