A long, hot summer is likely across Australia, but some much needed rain is on the way for farmers in drought affected areas of NSW.
A low pressure system is set to bring some relief to parts of NSW and Victoria in December, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
But Parkes farmer Wayne Dunford is sceptical it will bring enough rain to break the drought at his central-west NSW property.
"December is typically a dry month so if the average is, say, 30mm and we get 35mm then that's not going to be enough," Mr Dunford told AAP on Thursday.
There is enough money to keep hand feeding his remaining cattle herd for another two months, he said, before he'll have to come up with something else.
It would take consistent rainfall of 40 to 50mm or several heavy downpours above 80mm to make a real difference, he said.
The bureau predicts the outlook for December to February will be anywhere between 100mm and 200mm of rain over the three months, with warmer than average summer days and nights.
Dry conditions are predicted for large parts of Western Australia, western Tasmania and Queensland, increasing the risk of bushfires.
"High pressure over the South Tasman Sea will drive more humid air inland than normal, resulting in a welcome wetter-than-usual December outlook for central and eastern NSW and eastern Victoria," the bureau's senior hydrologist Robert Pipunic said on Thursday.
About half of farm land across Australia's southeast remains in drought, with NSW having experienced its fourth-driest and warmest January-October period on record.
The current drought has lasted more than a year with the nation sweating through its third-hottest year on record in 2017.
What sets it apart from other dry periods is how widespread it is, Mr Dunford said.
"You can't just take your herd a few hundred kilometres north.
"Queensland has had drought for seven years while far north NSW is coming up on five."
While buckets of rain fell across the nation in October, it wasn't enough to break the drought in NSW and Queensland.
Temperatures have also been rising, with near-record figures in some parts of the country.
Warmer seas in the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased threefold the risk of an El Nino forming in the coming months, meaning lower rainfall across parts of the country.
"However, El Nino typically has a weaker influence in the current drought areas of southeastern Australia during summer than it does in winter and spring," BOM's latest climate outlook said.
It also means an equal chance of either a wet or dry summer for the rest of the country.
Further warming of the Pacific Ocean is likely, BOM says, with the majority of climate models predicting sea surface temperatures remaining above El Nino thresholds until at least March.
Australian Associated Press