The outlook on severe weather provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) indicates that there’s increased risk of flooding during this summer as La Niña makes its presence felt within the east and northern parts of Australia.
Since La Niña’s announcement a fortnight ago, widespread showers have been recorded and it seems we have to start getting used to flooding, as suggested in the BOM’s October—April outlook.
According to the weather Bureau’s senior climatologist Greg Browning, there is a big change since last year.
“Certainly the concern for this season is for rainfall leading to potentially widespread and prolonged flooding.”
Risk Of Flooding And Cyclones
He added that two thirds of the country particularly in the eastern part was at risk of flooding. And the presence of La Niña brings additional risk of tropical cyclones.
The outlook further shows a 66 percent chance that more cyclones than the average for the Australian region will form earlier than normal this season.
A normal year records between 9 and eleven cyclones, with four of these tracking through the coast. At least one cyclone crosses the coast each year as per meteorological records confirmed by stormassist.au.com
The above average forecast for this year beats the trend of recent decades which have seen overall decline in the number of cyclones occurring in the region.
Browning noted that three years after the year 2000, more than 11 cyclones were recorded and none since the year 2005.
“Certainly it looks like it’s going to be more active than we’ve seen in recent years.”
A typical cyclone season starts from November and ends in April, with the first landfall occurring in early January but during the La Niña years, the initial cyclone usually crosses the coast around mid December.
With low average figures, it can be difficult predicting the number of cyclones in each region.
Mr Browning further noted that the accuracy regarding cyclone outlooks differed particularly when you focus on the sub-regions.
“We’re talking about numbers of cyclones between two and five or seven a year, so quite a small number that really decreases the accuracy.”
He added that sub-region accuracy ranged between very low and moderate, but this improves when all sub-regions are combined.
“But as far as the overall number for the Australian region, we can say with some confidence that our outlooks have accuracy.”
Bushfire events look better than last year’s with predictions showing a normal fire risk in majority of states and territories.
Many parts of NSW and Victoria have witnessed some good showers in recent months though other places such as Queensland and southwest WA have had extremely dry conditions over the same period.
“Southern Australia is one of the most fire-prone environments in the world,” Mr Browning said.
So, fires are expected but hopefully the climatic weather conditions will be more favourable with more showers than dry conditions, meaning we are less likely to see the wild fires we witnessed last year, according to Mr Browning.
La Niña is normally associated with cooler temperatures when compared to El Nino, but that doesn’t guarantee that we are immune to heatwaves this season.
Mr Browning concluded by saying that La Niñas came with a different type of heatwave and less single hot days but prolonged heatwaves that carry moderate intensity.
Then add humidity to it.
“You combine the heat over an extended period of time, plus that humidity, it can lead to significant health risks,” Mr Browning said.
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