Viticulture

Still very dry at many places

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July 24, 2017
The long dry spell has continued last week in our regions and there is no immediate relief in sight. Many places in our regions had little or no rain last week.

However, places in NE Victoria had some moderate rainfalls with monthly totals reaching the July average. A mild north-westerly airstream has now become established with maximum temperatures above normal on most days up to early August and not so many heavy frosts as we had last week.

A few frontal passages will bring some showery periods in the Riverina and Victoria but further north beyond Wagga only very light gaugings are possible. Forbes and Coonabarabran after near record rainfall last March have had only 4 mms and 3 mms this winter respectively to 24th July.

There was a similar situation in 1970 when heavy autumn rain was followed by very dry conditions in both June and July of that year at both places. Heavy widespread rain did finally in our regions on 24th August 1970.

From then on until early 1971 there was excessive rains apart from a break in October 1970. It has been dry in Gippsland every month since October last year despite the persistance of above normal sea surface temperatures.

Gabo Island has had only 475 mms since October. This the driest October to July period since 1965 at Gabo Island. Other drier such periods happened in 1868, 1878, 1902, 1923 and 1955.

There was a mixed bag of weather conditions following these episodes. But maximum temperatures tended to be above normal in our regions the latter half of these years. Some places along the southern coast of WA have receive above normal rainfalls this month.

Esperance has received 124 mms, well above the July average and this is a fairly good indication of above average rain for our region in the coming months. Near record high July temperatures at Mackay and Kowanyama last Wednesday 19th July is also another such good indication.
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