Dry conditions at Eromanga in Western Queensland. Picture: Lachie Millard
Dry conditions at Eromanga in Western Queensland. Picture: Lachie Millard

Drought declaration D-day for southeast

A NEW cluster of southeast Queensland communities is expected to be officially drought declared on Tuesday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to add eight new shires and councils to the state's drought list, taking the total number to 45, or about two-thirds of the entire state.

The new drought declarations are expected to include Noosa, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Redlands, Logan, Gympie, Sunshine Coast, and the Fraser Coast.

Weekend temperatures reached 40C in the southeast, with Brisbane hitting 38C before 11am and "very poor" air quality recorded across the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology's summer outlook shows little possibility of relief in sight for Queenslanders desperate for rain.

Long-range forecaster Dr Andrew Watkins said it's not good news for Queensland, with an "above 80 per cent" chance the state will be drier and warmer than average.

The main influence was one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events on record, he said.

Dry conditions at Eromanga in Western Queensland. Picture: Lachie Millard
Dry conditions at Eromanga in Western Queensland. Picture: Lachie Millard

"Basically, the positive IOD occurs when you get cooler than normal ocean temperatures off Indonesia, which tends to restrict the amount of moisture coming into eastern Australia and also tends to create high pressures over eastern Australia, which keeps the clouds away," Dr Watkins said.

"That is going to cause more westerly winds, those hot and dry winds coming into southeast Queensland in particular," Dr Watkins said.

BOM said the dire predictions meant residents needed to stay alert for potential catastrophic weather events, with "an increased risk of heatwaves occurring during this summer".

"We've already seen significant bushfire activity during spring, and the outlook for drier and warmer than ­average conditions will maintain that heightened risk over the coming months," Dr ­Watkins said.

"This outlook also means the risk of heatwaves is increased, so it's important the community stays up to date with the latest information and advice from authorities and the bureau's heatwave forecasts and warnings."

Dr Watkins said the state is likely to be about 80 per cent drier and warmer than average in coming months, as Queensland experienced one of its driest springs.



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