Good rainfall occurred across inland NSW during early and late May, with the best falls received over the western, southern and central areas of NSW. Falls were above average across these areas (covering 68 per cent of the state). Rainfall was near average across the north west, upper Hunter valley, areas of the south east and the northern and central tablelands. However, falls were below average along most of the coast and the eastern half of the ranges. Good follow up rainfall occurred in early June across most of NSW except over areas of the far west.
An east coast low in early June resulted in heavy rainfall and flooding across coastal NSW and the adjacent ranges. Damage was caused to banana farms on the mid-north to north coast. Lodging of sugar cane crops also occurred, which will slow harvesting.
There was a dramatic improvement in pasture growth across most of inland NSW during May due to the rainfall and warm temperatures till late in the month. Annual and perennial pastures across western, southern and central NSW responded well. Establishment of newly sown pastures in these areas has also been good. Growth remained low across areas of the coast, the Hunter valley and Monaro. The onset of cold, wet conditions and frosts in late May and early June slowed growth across the tablelands and slopes.
Relative to historical records, May pasture growth was above average across areas of the far west, central west, Riverina, far south and the central and southern tablelands. It was near average across most of the north west and northern tablelands, but below average to average across the coast, Hunter valley and areas of the north west.
Pasture biomass levels ranged from low to average across the state, with some improvements in the far west, Riverina and south.
Stock condition remains reasonably good. Supplementary feeding is continuing, due to low pasture biomass but is being reduced as pasture and forage crop production improves.
Most winter crop sowing has been completed, with late planting of cereals and chickpeas continuing in north western NSW after the early June rainfall. Some earlier sown crops in this area were sown deep on limited soil moisture. Heavy rainfall in the southern and central areas of the state during May resulted in trafficability problems and delayed the completion of sowing in these regions. Wet conditions have also restricted early weed control and topdressing. Weed control remains a priority due to the lack of control opportunities prior to sowing. Winter crop establishment and growth has been good in most areas, due to warm conditions extending until late May. The best response has been from early sown crops that were either dry sown or sown into marginal soil moisture during late April. Grazing of dual purpose cereals and canola has commenced, although growth has slowed with onset of frosts and cooler wet weather in late May and early June. Some later sown or dry sown crops are not yet well enough established for grazing.
Cotton harvesting in the south is nearing completion, but has been delayed by the wet conditions.
Topsoil moisture improved, reaching moderate to high levels across most of western, central and southern NSW during May. Levels across the north west and areas of the northern tablelands were near average, but low across most of the coast. Levels continued to improve into early June, and by this stage were above average to extremely high across almost all of NSW.
Subsoil moisture levels improved during May over areas of western, southern and central NSW but declined across some areas of the east, northern tablelands and north west.
Despite the rainfall, run off during May was limited. With the replenishment of soil moisture profiles, the follow up rainfall in early June increased run off into dams, waterways and storages.
To the end of May, yearly run off was low across areas of the mid-north to north coast, central and northern tablelands, the northern slopes, the north west, the upper Hunter valley and areas of the far south, far west and central west.
Download a copy of the NSW Seasonal Conditions Report for June 2016 (PDF, 4316.12 KB).
The Bureau of Meteorology’s rainfall outlook for June to August (see table) indicates that wetter than normal conditions are likely across NSW. Cooler than normal daytime temperatures are likely across most of western, southern, central and north western NSW. There is a near-equal chance of cooler or warmer than normal daytime temperatures across most of eastern NSW. Warmer than normal daytime temperatures are likely across limited areas of the coast and the far south east. Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal across most of NSW, with a near-equal chance of cooler or warmer than normal conditions in the far west.
During June, wetter than normal conditions are likely across most of western, southern and areas of central NSW, as well as the far north east. There is a near-equal chance of wetter or drier conditions for the remainder of NSW. Daytime temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal across eastern NSW, including areas of the tablelands and northern slopes. Cooler than normal conditions are likely across the west and far south. Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal in the east, south, north west and areas of the Riverina and central NSW. There is a near-equal chance of cooler or warmer than normal overnight temperatures in the far west
The NOAA Climate Forecast System (CFS) rainfall outlook for June to August indicates wetter than normal conditions are likely for NSW. Warmer than normal conditions are indicated for eastern and northern NSW.
For June, the NOAA CFS rainfall outlook is near-neutral across most of NSW. Wetter than normal conditions are likely for areas of eastern NSW. Somewhat warmer than normal temperatures are likely, particularly along the coast. For July, the outlook indicates wetter than normal conditions NSW. Warmer than normal conditions are likely over most of NSW. There is a near-neutral outlook for the east.
A survey of the major climate models in late May indicated most favour a wetter than normal rainfall outlook for June to August, with a minority favouring near-neutral conditions. The majority indicated that warmer than normal conditions are likely for the period.
Overall NSW outlook -
major climate models
(number of models)
(number of models)
June – August
July – September
The AussieGRASS pasture growth outlook for June to August suggests that well above average growth is likely for most of western, southern and central NSW. Average to above average growth is suggested for much of the north west and northern areas of the northern tablelands. Generally below average growth is suggested for the coast, Monaro, Hunter valley and areas of the central and northern tablelands.
The seasonal rainfall prediction that the growth outlook is based upon is for generally above average rainfall for most of NSW, but average to below average rainfall for the coast, Monaro, Hunter valley and the east of the tablelands. This was based on a rapidly rising SOI during April and May. The rainfall outlook is similar to that of the Bureau of Meteorology for all but eastern NSW. The pasture growth outlook has moderate to high accuracy for most of the state. Due to the differences between the rainfall outlooks for the east of the state, the growth outlook for this area may be an underestimate.
The Pacific Ocean has returned to an ENSO-neutral state. Sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern-central equatorial Pacific are now at near-normal levels.
The cool subsurface temperature anomaly has reached the surface in the eastern and eastern-central equatorial Pacific. Atmospheric indicators (including the SOI, trade winds and central Pacific cloud conditions) have returned to normal or neutral levels.
Many global climate models suggest a borderline or weak La Niña event occurring during winter-spring. The Bureau of Meteorology’s ENSO outlook status is at La Niña watch, as is that of the CPC/IRI. Many models indicate a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event is likely to begin in late winter. Cooling in the western Indian Ocean has caused the Dipole Mode Index (DMI) to become negative, but two months at this level are required before a negative IOD event is declared.
La Niña and negative IOD events increase the chances of above-average rainfall across NSW during winter and spring.
Warm sea surface temperatures exist to the north, north east and north west of the continent and across much of the Indian Ocean. Cloud has increased over areas of the western Indonesia. These areas remain potential sources of moisture for winter rainfall. The sub-tropical ridge is somewhat further north than normal, which is also a positive indication for winter rainfall. The southern annular mode is weakly positive.
NSW Seasonal Outlook (BoM)
(western, central and southern NSW, areas of north west, central and southern tablelands)
(eastern NSW, northern slopes, northern tablelands, Hunter valley)
(far south east, coastal strip of Illawarra, central and far north coast)
(eastern and southern NSW, central tablelands, Hunter valley, eastern central west and areas of the northern tablelands and northern slopes)
(far west, south west, west of the central west, most of the north west)
(most of NSW)
El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
La Niña possible in winter/spring
El Niño (rapidly declining)
Trending to neutral this month, La Niña possible in winter/spring
La Niña watch
La Niña watch
Variable, currently moderately-strongly negative
(likely to be cool in winter/spring)
Borderline with neutral,
trending to neutral
(likely to be cool in winter/spring)
IOD neutral (DMI value currently negative, negative IOD event likely in late winter)
Warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures
(negative IOD possible in late winter)
Warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures
Weakly positive, trending to weakly-moderately positive
Near neutral, possibly trending to moderately to strongly negative
Note: Climate model outlooks are updated regularly. To check whether updates are available, use the hyperlinks provided.
During May, rainfall ranged from 3-325 mm across the state with most of the state receiving 25-100 mm.
The north west, northern tablelands and areas of the far west and central west received 25-50 mm or less, with most of the remainder of inland NSW receiving 50-100 mm. The best falls of more than 100 mm occurred across areas of the far north west, the eastern Riverina and areas of the south and south west slopes.
The coast and adjacent ranges were relatively dry with falls of less than 25 mm being received. However, an east coast low in early June caused heavy rainfall and flooding across these areas.
Both daytime and overnight temperatures were above average for the month, particularly in the east. Daytime temperatures were generally above average until the last week of May, with exceptions during rainfall events. The month ended with cooler temperatures and frosts.
Relative to historical records, rainfall during May was above average across 68 per cent of the state, covering most of western, southern and central NSW. Near average rainfall occurred across the north west and northern tablelands. Rainfall was below average across most of the coast, Sydney basin and lower Hunter valley and areas of the adjacent ranges. This dramatically changed in early June with the onset of a severe East Coast Low causing widespread heavy rainfall and flooding in these areas.
Quarterly relative rainfall was below average across 25 per cent of NSW. Below average rainfall extended across the coast, Hunter valley, Sydney basin and areas of the northern tablelands and north west. Above average relative rainfall was restricted to areas of the far west, Riverina and far south. Most of the state had near-average rainfall for the period.
On average, topsoil moisture improved across most of western, central and southern NSW during May. Levels across north western NSW and areas of the northern tablelands remained low to moderate, but were low across much of the coast.
Relative to historical records, topsoil moisture levels were above average to extremely high across much of the far west, central west, Riverina and southern NSW. Levels across the north west, upper Hunter valley and central and southern tablelands were near average. Much of the coast and northern tablelands had below average topsoil moisture.
By early June, topsoil moisture levels had increased to well above average to extremely high across most of NSW.
Subsoil moisture levels improved during May over areas of western, southern and central NSW, but declined across areas of the east, northern tablelands and north west. Relative to historical records, subsoil moisture was near average across most of NSW but below average across areas of the far south, north west, tablelands and north coast. Levels improved in early June.
Yearly run off to May was low across areas of the mid-north to north coast, central and northern tablelands, the northern slopes, the north west, the west and north east of the central west, the upper Hunter valley and areas of the far south and far west.
With the replenishment of soil moisture profiles from the May rainfall, the follow up rainfall in June increased run off into dams, waterways and storages.
The Bureau of Meteorology's streamflow forecast indicates low to near-median streamflows are likely across most NSW monitoring stations during June to August. Near-median and high streamflows are likely at some southern locations during the period, and low streamflows in some northern locations.
Relative to historical records, AussieGRASS modelled pasture growth during May was above average across much of the far west, central west, eastern Riverina, far south and areas of the central and southern tablelands. It was near average across most of the north west and northern tablelands, but below average to average across the coast and Hunter valley.
Other pasture growth models suggested a similar pattern during May, but with even better relative growth across western, southern and central NSW and lower growth along the coast.
Over the quarter, AussieGRASS relative growth was average across 60 per cent of the state. Areas of below average growth occurred across much of the north west, the south to mid-north coast, Hunter valley and areas of the northern tablelands. Above average growth was generally restricted to areas of the far west, southern tablelands and south west slopes.
During May, relative biomass levels were generally near average across the state with improvements across the tablelands, Hunter valley and southern and south eastern NSW. Relative biomass remained low across north western NSW and areas of the coast and far south west.
For more information, contact the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 02 6391 3100 or Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.
Information used in this report was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (Columbia University), the UK Meteorological Office, the APEC Climate Centre, NSW Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries.
The seasonal outlooks presented in this report are obtained from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and other sources. These outlooks are general statements about the likelihood (chance) of (for example) exceeding the median rainfall or minimum or maximum temperatures. Such probability outlooks should not be used as categorical or definitive forecasts, but should be regarded as tools to assist in risk management and decision making. Changes in seasonal outlooks may have occurred since this report was released. Outlook information was up to date as at 10 June 2016.
Recognising that some of the information in this document is provided by third parties, the State of New South Wales, the author and the publisher take no responsibility for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of any information included in the document provided by third parties.
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing (10 June 2016). However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of the Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser.