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Severe weather warning

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May 03, 2018

Burn-offs near Stewarton and surrounding areas created smoke haze this week as temperatures began to drop.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dr Blair Trewin said April had been the driest month for Victoria as a whole since 1997.

A severe weather warning for the south of Victoria could put an end to Shepparton’s three-month dry spell, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Rainfall for February, March and April failed to break the 20mm mark.

Proving what many locals already knew, bureau figures showed April was the hottest on record with temperatures climbing to 4°C above the long-term average.

Agriculture Victoria seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey said unlike daily temperatures, there was nothing statistically unusual about the dry spell.

‘‘The fact that the break hasn’t come (yet) is not abnormal around Shepparton,’’ he said.

‘‘The break is usually around the start to the middle of May. People might like it to rain on Anzac Day, but historically that’s not the case.’’

Mr Grey said the sooner the rains arrived the better for the region’s farmers, as the dry spell had impacted some industries.

‘‘Agronomically, if it rains earlier, everything is better... the irrigators in dairy have had to put a lot more water on than they would have liked to ... They’ve probably all been scrambling to buy enough water to keep them going,’’ he said.

A keen gardener, Mr Grey said he suspected urban dwellers had also been forced to use more water than they would have liked to maintain their lawns and gardens.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dr Blair Trewin said April had been the driest month for Victoria as a whole since 1997.

‘‘That was fairly consistent across the board in northern Victoria. Shepparton came in with less than 7mm.

‘‘It wasn’t their driest April on record, but it was certainly dry,’’ Dr Trewin said.

‘‘Shepparton also experienced its warmest April on record.’’

The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for today with winds in southern Victoria expected to average 60km/h to 70km/h, with peak gusts of 90km/h.

Locally, there is a high chance of rain, with falls between 2mm and 8 mm predicted.

Rain and winds should ease moving into the weekend.

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