Moree records driest January to June since 1902, and dry is set to continue into 2020, according to long-range rainfall prediction

Moree records driest six months in nearly 120 years, and dry is set to continue

Moree has recorded its driest January to June in nearly 120 years, and the outlook doesn't look much better for next year, according to a retired CSIRO weather monitor.

So far this year, only 77 millimetres of rain has fallen in Moree - the driest January to June since 1902 when only 47mm fell over that period. Other very dry periods were in 1965 when 82mm fell, 1915 when 113mm was recorded and 1923 which had 117mm.

These statistics have been noted by Peter Nelson, who was a CSIRO weather monitor for 34 years, from 1959 to 1993, and while he is now retired, he still enjoys making long range predictions for a few places in Australia, including Moree.

"We had a CSIRO expedition up there in May 1974 - it was a joint expedition with Cloud Physics in Sydney - and another in April 1975," Mr Nelson said.

"It's come from then and I've just continued it.

"[Monitoring weather] has always been my hobby. It keeps my brain active."

When he was staying in Moree in early 2003, Mr Nelson made a long-range rainfall forecast for Moree from 2003 to 2013, and he's now currently working on another month-by-month forecast up to the end of 2028.

Unfortunately, Mr Nelson said Moree's rainfall outlook is not looking promising until at least 2021.

"It looks a grim situation," he said.

"Unfortunately the rest of 2019 will continue to be dry except for above average rain in both August and December.

"Not much joy is expected for 2020 either with another hot dry summer and that year basically dry."

To make his predictions, Mr Nelson looks at weather records, and said he often sees 80-year weather cycles.

It looks a grim situation.

Peter Nelson, retired CSIRO weather monitor

"I look at past weather records and find trends ... as long as records are accurate," he said.

"2020 is in line with a very dry year in 1940. Based on the 80-year cycle, I believe 2021 will start to get increasing wetness before a big flood in Moree in 2022."

Mr Nelson predicts that a major flood is likely to be in the third week of February 2022.

"It appears that 2024 to 2025 will be dry again before more very heavy rain arrives early 2026 with floods," he said.

Adding to Moree's weather woes, Mr Nelson said cold weather "aggravates the dryness", and on Saturday, Moree recorded its coldest June morning in 48 years.

The minimum temperature on Saturday, June 22 fell to minus 3.8 degrees, the coldest June morning since minus 5 was recorded on June 26, 1971.

"These are very depressing statistics during extremely dry conditions since last December," Mr Nelson said.

"The old post office records at Moree did have colder June mornings from the early 1900s, the coldest being minus 5.6 on June 24, 1946 and that was a very dry year."