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The devastating reality of Australia's crippling drought: Shocking maps show just how parched the country has become as desperate farmers continue to pray for rain – but experts say it's only going to get WORSE

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 7/08/2018 Laura Hedges

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Australia has been suffering one of the most intense droughts of the past century, and meteorologists believe that it is only going to get worse.

These maps from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show how the country has been getting increasingly dry since 2010. 

The latest - and most shocking - map from BoM shows next to no average rainfall across the majority of the country from 1 April to 6 August this year.

It has been the driest July since 2002, according to the BoM's latest report, and the driest Autumn since 1902.

Almost all of NSW has received less than 20 per cent of its usual rainfall since January. 

a close up of a map: The latest map from BoM shows dramatically low levels of rainfall from April to August 2018

The latest map from BoM shows dramatically low levels of rainfall from April to August 2018
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited
'Rainfall was the lowest on record for July in parts of northern inland and west slopes of New South Wales, across the border into the eastern Pastoral region of South Australia and patches in the Goldfields of Western Australia,' the report said. 

It also said that rainfall deficiencies have increased in both extent and severity for almost all of New South Wales, inland Queensland, northern Victoria, eastern pastoral and southern agricultural regions of South Australia.

Farmers across the country have already been suffering from the intense droughts - with many losing livestock as a result - but the worst seems yet to come. 

Residents and farmers across NSW have been sharing their struggles of the devastating drought with The Guardian, with some saying that although farmers are 'tough', everyone has a breaking point.

Mark Robinson, a grain grower from Coonable, said that his property has been in a state of rain deficiency for the past five years, excluding a brief respite in 2016. 

'As recent history has shown, this drought will probably break in a large-scale manner, then a further extended period before the next rain event,' he said. 

'This is the pattern that has become much more evident over time. This creates serious management issues for farmers and graziers.'

Alison Harris, a doctor from Tamworth, said that although she doesn't depend on the land for her livelihood, many of her patients do.

'It's been so long since we have seen green grass, since we have heard rain on the metal roof,' she said.

 'It is a hard slog, minimising water use, shuffling buckets of water out to the remaining treasured plants, knowing that it may all be useless unless the rain comes.' 

ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes heatwave expert Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick told Weatherzone that Australians should be expecting extreme weather considering the dryness and warmth of the past few months.

'We are heading towards an El Niño summer, so we are more likely to have hotter and more extreme weather,' Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick said.

'We should certainly be worried.'

El Niño is a climate change pattern that occurs when sea surface levels in the tropical Pacific Ocean rise to above-normal levels for an extended period of time.

Temperatures so far this winter have been unusually high, with Sydney and large regions of eastern Australia encountering an average high of 19.8 degrees last month - 3.4 degrees more than what was expected, according to Weatherzone.

Sydney recorded 13 days where temperatures reached 20 degrees. The last time Sydney experienced such warm temperatures in July was back in 2013 with a record high of 19.5 degrees.

With such a dry and warm July and above-average temperatures expected, the chances of El Niño forming in spring is at 50 per cent - which is double the normal chance, according to Weatherzone.

This means Australia could be expecting even drier months and hotter temperatures as it heads towards spring and summer.  

Visit Drought SOS: For more news, information and how to help Australian farmers.

Pictures: The Wider Image: Australia's drought - the cancer eating away at farms

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