Big dry continues into March for Ballarat

Ballarat gardeners and farmers have been disappointed yet again with a recent weather front that has failed to deliver rainfall to one of the driest March's on record.

Despite some sporadic showers across the city yesterday and temperatures dropping to 6 degrees overnight, indicating Autumn is well and truly underway, no rainfall was measured at the official Ballarat Aerodrome site.

So far March has yielded only 2.2 mm of rainfall the driest in almost a century with only a little over a week left of the month to offer relief.

The driest March on record was 1923 which had a total monthly rainfall of 2.2mm. While traditionally a dry month, March does generally yield considerably more rain with an average rainfall of 42mm.

This dry March follows hard on the fourth driest summer in the city's recorded history. Just 52.8mm of rain fell in Summer according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the city's worst numbers since just 42.4mm fell in 1984-1985.

But Weatherzone spokesman Guy Dixon said there was some hope a light rain event later in the week might push Ballarat over its worst March total on record

"There is some hope that the days later in the week mainly Thursday and Friday will bring some rain, with falls of 5-10mm but at this point it doesn't appear to be anything substantial."

Mr Dixon said the extreme dry spell was also unusual in that it was not connected with an El Nino climactic event and atmospheric and oceanic indicators continued close to their long-term average.

"It is still neutral at the moment but these are the kind of conditions you would expect from a El Nino conditions.," he said.

Four out five of the last summers have experienced heavy downfalls that have lifted averages including floods in 2011 but substantial rain events with more than 10mm of rain has not eventuated since early December. So far March has delivered just two days with 1mm each and some trace rainfall on a separate day.

Low rainfall

Low rainfall


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