Signs of a hot, dry summer are slowly emerging with last month labelled the fifth driest October on record (since 1900) and the driest since 2002, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's latest drought report.
Rainfall in October was below average for most of Australia and large parts of the country were the driest on record or received their lowest rainfall.
All states and territories except Victoria had below average rainfall for October.
For Western Australia, it was the driest October on record since 1900, with statewide rainfall 83.5 per cent below average.
For Queensland, it was the sixth-driest October on record, 83.8 per cent below average, while for South Australia it was 76.4 per cent below average.
Most of south-eastern Queensland had the lowest on record August-October rainfall and large areas of 3-month rainfall deficiencies have also developed in the Northern Territory, South Australia, and eastern Australia.
Over the three months between August and October 2023, rainfall was 61.2 per cent below the 1961-1990 average.
The area-average total of 22.63 mm makes it Australia's driest 3-month period on record for any similar period since 1900.
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Low rainfall has consequences for soil moisture and the October root-zone soil moisture (measured in the top 100 cm) was below to very much below average across most of Australia.
Areas that were "particularly dry" were southern and eastern Australia, including north and east Tasmania and some areas in the Northern Territory.
"Large areas of lowest on record soil moisture have developed in south-eastern Queensland," the report said.
The report predicts below median rainfall is "likely to very likely" for northern, western, central and southern Australia from November to January 2024.