Feb 06, 2007
The most drought stricken regions will need near-record rainfall if they are to be pulled out of the crippling dry spell any time soon, new data has suggested. Large areas of Queensland and NSW - and virtually all of Victoria - remain in severe drought, including a huge chunk of the parched Murray-Darling basin. Those regions would need rainfall close to historical highs to recover in the next few months. The last year has been the DRIEST ON RECORD in the mountainous regions of northeastern Victoria and southeastern NSW, Tasmania's north coast and some patches of the southwest WA coast.
TURKEY - Drought worries weathermen, farmers - "We haven’t had any real rain in the Istanbul area since late October. Normally, December and January are the rainiest months in the region. Water reservoirs around Istanbul are only half full and if it doesn’t rain by February, the city will face big problems. The authorities should have already begun to warn the population”. Nearly the whole of Turkey has been experiencing ONE OF ITS DRIEST SPELLS IN MEMORY, courtesy of a large anti-cyclone that just won’t go away. On Turkey’s western border with Greece, the flow of the Meric River has dwindled from 730 to 100 cubic meters per second. That of the Manavgat River in the south - whose waters Turkey once planned to sell to Israel - has been reduced by half. In Bursa - called “the Green” for its lushness - the sole reservoir feeding the city of one million, 250 kilometers southeast of Istanbul, is only eight percent full. In December 2006, average rainfall for Turkey was 73 percent below seasonal norms, at 26.1 millimeters instead of the usual 97.2 mm. Farmers in the region are reduced to begging for divine intervention at mass rain prayers in their fields and at local mosques. In the high Anatolian plateau, crops face another threat. “Nights are very cold in this region at this time of year and since there has been no snowfall to protect the earth, the cold and the icy winds are freezing the seedlings.”
MALTA - In view of the exceptionally dry start to the new year, which is having its effects in particular on sectors which depend on precipitation such as agriculture, the Maltese Curia has instructed the local churches to pray for more rainfall. The weather recorded during the beginning of the year is normally witnessed during the Easter period in early to mid-April rather than in January. With only five rainy days, the past month only had 8.6mm of rainfall and was the second driest January recorded since 1922. Since then, only January 1983 has been drier, by a mere 0.1mm. The minimal downpour of rainfall in January this year is even more evident when once considers the average rainfall for the month, which stands at 95.5mm. The past month was also the WARMEST JANUARY ON RECORD. Photo: Local churches pray for rain.