A crippling drought is ravaging parts of Australia, decimating herds and putting desperate farmers under intense financial and emotional strain, with little relief in sight.(Photo: VCG)
Australia has experienced its driest September on record, extending the nation's drought.
Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), confirmed that the nation received less than a third of the average September rainfall and that the month was the second-driest single month on record behind only April, 1902.
"Below average rainfall covered almost the entire country," Trewin told Fairfax Media on Monday night.
The poor September means that Australia is on-track to record its third-driest calendar year on record behind 1902 and 1965.
It came as much of the nation was desperate for rain to break the worst drought in five decades.
Melbourne didn't have a single day with more than five millimeters of rain in September, the second time it has happened since 1855.
In New South Wales (NSW), September brought less than half the normal rainfall.
Trewin said that the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia's food bowl, was on track to have its driest calendar year since 1902.
"The signal in the outlook (from October to December) that's really strong is warmth," Trewin said.
Daytime temperatures in September were 1.41 degrees Celsius above the average between 1961 and 1990.
Trewin said that 2018 was likely to be among top 10 years for average temperature.
Bushfire season has begun early across much of Australia as a result of a warm, dry winter.