Dry February in Launceston

LAUNCESTON has recorded just 0.2 millimetres of rain so far this month.

The long-term average rainfall for this stage in February is 18.2 millimetres.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Alex Evans said the dry start to the month had been triggered by a sequence of high-pressure systems remaining stationary in the Tasman Sea.

``The high pressure systems are effectively blocking rain-bearing westerly streams from passing over Tasmania,'' he said.

``There have been a number of these systems throughout the year, which have also driven the excessive heat south-eastern Australia has experienced in recent weeks.''

The high pressure systems are expected to move away from the Tasman Sea early next week.

A low pressure system should pass over Tasmania by Wednesday, with showers forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Evans said the greatest rainfalls this month were most likely to come during the next seven days.

``There is a chance the region will see anywhere between 10 millimetres and 25 millimetres of rain,'' he said. ``But the likelihood of that happening is actually quite low.''

Mr Evans said despite the forecast showers, the chances of Launceston reaching the long-term average monthly rainfall for February remained slim.

``The average monthly rainfall is about 32 millimetres,'' he said. It is highly likely February will remain well below the long-term average.''

Maximum temperatures in Launceston have been 2.3 degrees higher than the long-term, month-to-date average. So far in February, the mercury in Launceston has reached at least 32 degrees twice.

Mr Evans said there have been only three times in recorded history where the city's temperature has been 32 degrees or greater twice in February.

``The last time this happened was in 2010.''

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