WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Weather in parts of eastern Australia would be wetter than average in the coming months, but a large portion of the west would be drier than normal, the Bureau of Meteorology said in a report on Thursday.
In its latest three-month weather outlook from December to February, the bureau said weather in eastern and central New South Wales, as well as eastern Victoria, is likely to be wetter than average.
But Western Australia, western Tasmania and scattered parts of central Australia and Queensland would be drier than normal during these months, it said.
Recent rains in Australia have done little to relieve the drought gripping the country’s east, which has turned pastures into dust bowls, forced graziers to buy expensive grain to keep their herds alive, and led farmers to slaughter sheep and cattle.
The weather outlook also suggests El Nino conditions are likely through the summer months.
However, it said El Nino typically has a weaker influence in the current drought areas of southeastern Australia during summer than it does in winter and spring.
An El Nino weather event can trigger both floods and drought in different parts of the world, and is associated with warmer, dry weather across the Asia Pacific.
El Nino weather in Australia in 2015-2016 impacted agricultural production in the country - among the world’s largest exporters.
Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Sunil Nair