Queensland facing another hot, dry summer

Forecasters are predicting little relief over summer for Queensland's drought-stricken farmers.
Forecasters are predicting little relief over summer for Queensland's drought-stricken farmers.

Queenslanders are being told to brace for another hot and dry summer, with little respite expected for drought-hit farmers.

Early-stage modelling shows above average summer temperatures and below average rainfall, according to University of Southern Queensland meteorologist Roger Stone.

"The best models are already indicating only a low probability of receiving our normal summer rainfall, especially in regards to early summer rain," Professor Stone told AAP.

"The main hope at the moment is for summer thunderstorms, which aren't particularly affected by these sorts of global patterns."

Similar conditions over the past 6-7 years have led to 65 per cent of Queensland being drought declared, with the state's south and northern NSW suffering some of the worst conditions.

The Leslie Dam, which supplies Queensland's Southern Downs region, is down to six per cent full and feared to be empty by December.

Hopes of an early summer deluge for those regions also appear slim, with the start of the monsoonal wet season expected later than usual.

But there is a chance of "closer to average falls" later in the season, Prof Stone said.

"It is going to be another tough summer, if we don't get a decent monsoonal," said Ross Henry from the Queensland Farmers' Federation.

"The increased heat really bakes the earth so when you do get a little bit of rain, it doesn't soak in as well. Any storm rain will hit and run off.

"It's going to have, and has had, a pretty lasting effect on rural communities."

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have reported the extent and frequency of exceptionally hot years have been increasing, with that trend to continue.

The tough conditions could be just around the corner, with spring also expected to be hot and dry.

"Queensland is almost entirely forecast to be above average in temperature for spring, particularly in terms of daytime maximum temperatures," BOM forecaster David Crock said.

"Unfortunately, the factors in our regional climate are not promising for the good rainfall that many areas need to alleviate the current drought conditions."

Australian Associated Press