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Dire map exposes brutal problem facing millions of Aussies

Western Australia, which is currently battling bushfires, has recorded its driest October on record.

Millions of Aussies are at risk this bushfire season after the country recorded its driest October in 21 years — just as the peak time for severe weather ramps up.

With blazes already erupting in every state and the Northern Territory over the past month, it’s clear the country is facing an increased chance of heatwaves and bushfires this year, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The lack of rainfall seen across Australia as a whole during October has done nothing to quash concerns. All states and territories except Victoria had below average rainfall for October, the bureau said in its latest drought report released on Wednesday.

A map highlighting the areas of rainfall deficiencies across Australia during October.
A rainfall map for October shows most of Australia had below average rainfall for the month. Source: BoM

Over the 31 days, rainfall across the country was 65 per cent below the 1961-1990 average and the fifth driest on record.

Western Australia, which is currently seeing a number of fires, saw its driest October on record with below average rainfall for over 80 per cent of the state.

For Queensland, it was the sixth-driest October on record, with 83 per cent below average rainfall, while South Australia saw 76 per cent below average. The only area that saw above average rainfall during the month was most of eastern Victoria, and adjacent parts of NSW.

Driest three-month period on record

From August to October, rainfall was 61 per cent below the average, making it Australia’s driest three-month period since 1900.

“Most of southeast Queensland had lowest on record rainfall for the period. Rainfall was below average for most of the country except for parts of central and eastern Victoria, the north tropical Queensland coast and some inland areas of Western Australia,” The BoM said in its report.

Local resident Wendy Austin is seen putting out spot fires near the town of Dalveen, Queensland, Thursday, November 2, 2023.
Local resident Wendy Austin puts out spot fires near the town of Dalveen, in Queensland, last week. Source: AAP

Since August, rainfall deficiencies have developed “across most of the Northern Territory, into South Australia, northern Tasmania, along the southwest and southern coast, as well as much of eastern Australia, including south-eastern Queensland.”

Large parts of these areas have already had rain deficiencies since last December, and things are not looking up, with the BoM predicting a 60 to 80 per cent chance of below median rainfall across Australia from now until January.

October to April is the peak time for severe weather, including heatwaves, bushfires, thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.

List of weather warning for the peak severe weather season issued by The BoM.
Source: The BoM

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