Global weather

Devastating drought takes hold across eastern Australia as El Nino looms

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
8/07/2018, 12:35:42 PM

Australia has always been known as a place for extreme weather, and the current drought is just another example.

Parts of New South Wales are enduring what some call the worst drought in a generation as a dry winter has followed the second driest autumn on record for southern Australia.

Roughly 99% of New South Wales is currently listed as being in a drought.

Some farmers have said that trees there are 100 years or more old are dying from this current drought, to indicate the magnitude of the drought.

Australia 8/7

Cattle crowd around a water truck amid one of the worst droughts in recent memory in parts of Australia.

Leading up to the dry conditions in 2018, the 2017 year was the 20th driest on record since 1900 which helped set the stage for the drought this year.

While the current drought has been devastating and could have a significant impact on the upcoming growing season, its effects will fall short of the millennium drought which saw nine consecutive years of below-normal autumn rains which are crucial for the southern growing season.

That drought which took place from 1997-2005 destroyed roughly 50 percent of Australia crop lands.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently stated, "Now we are the land of droughts," while announcing $140 million Australian dollars ($104 million American dollars) in additional aid for farmers.

Concerns are only heightened by the fact that El Nino is expected to develop later this year. An El Nino typically results in below-normal rainfall across Australia which would only worsen the current drought conditions.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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