Australia's West set for hot, dry spell

Australia’s west coast is facing hot, dry weather over the next three months, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said on Thursday, denting the outlook for wheat production in the world’s fourth-largest exporter

Australia's West set for hot, dry spell
A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-effected paddock on Jimmie and May McKeown's property located on the outskirts of town of Walgett, in New South Wales, Australia - Photo: File Photo/REUTERS
English 31/01/2019 15:07 Reuters Sydney Colin Packham Actualizada 15:07

Australia’s west coast is facing hot, dry weather over the next three months, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology said on Thursday, denting the outlook for wheat production in the world’s fourth-largest exporter.

There is only a 20% chance that the state of Western Australia will receive average rainfall between February 1 and April 30, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest three-month outlook.

It also forecasts a 70% chance that the majority of Australia will experience above-average temperatures over the same period.

Western Australia is the country’s largest wheat-growing region, producing up to half of the total harvest, and farmers will begin sowing crops in early April.

Wheat output has suffered in recent years from dry weather along the country’s east coast, with 2018/2019 production hitting a 10-year low despite a good crop in Western Australia.

Also, power outages hit around 45,000 homes across Sydney’s upmarket eastern suburbs on Thursday as a forecast 40°C (104°F) heatwave hit the harborside city, with media reports of people being trapped in lifts and one hospital losing power.

As Australia swelters in a protracted heat wave which has lasted weeks, distribution company Ausgrid said emergency crews were investigating the cause of the widespread outage, which is rare in the eastern beachside suburbs.

Power was lost to homes and businesses in suburbs from beachfront Bondi to the well-heeled areas of Double Bay and Woollahra. Police warned drivers to take care with dozens of traffic lights blacked out.

Ausgrid, which provides power to more than over 1.7 million customers down the east coast, later said power had been restored to 10,000 homes around Double Bay.

Australia has had a run of hot weather. A record-breaking heat-wave across Southeastern Australia earlier this month triggered outages in some areas and sent power prices soaring, while bushfires have destroyed homes in the southern island state of Tasmania.
 

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