La Niña has officially ended after six long months of soggy and wild weather across Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) declared the weather system last September which has caused above-average rainfall in many parts of Australia all through the spring and summer.
The 2020-21 summer is considered the wettest since 2016-17, with December 2020 being the third wettest December since 1900 when the national weather records began.
Showers in the past three months have been 29 percent above average throughout Australia.
The end of La Niña coincides with the end of the bushfire season in NSW, which is considered one of the wettest ever recorded.
While increased rainfall meant reduced fire risk, it also brought about increased flooding and tropical cyclones.
The country’s east coast areas are in the process of recovering from the effects of a major flood disaster that has left NSW and Queensland in distress with some areas receiving in excess of 800 millimetres in just few days.
Four different tropical cyclones were recorded in the Australian region during the 2020-21 summer, with tropical cyclone Imogen causing serious destruction in the Queensland Gulf Country on January 3.
Combined with a low and coastal trough, Imogen delivered widespread rain in the northern Queensland with various stations recording their unprecedented highest daily rainfall for summer.
Four severe tropical lows also caused heavy downpours and flooding in some parts of northern Australia starting with the Kimberley area in January and Pilbara and Gascoyne regions in early February, even as several weather stations in the NT recorded their peak daily rainfall ever recorded for summer.
According to Dr Naomi Benger a senior climatologist at the BOM, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind that even though the La Niña is finally over, significant falls are possible.
“We’re forecasting above-average rainfall to continue into April for northern parts of Australia,” she told Storm Assist.
Dr Benger added that as La Niña dwindles, secondary weather drivers like the Madden–Julian Oscillation, is expected to start having some bearing on subsequent rainfall patterns.
“The Madden-Julian Oscillation moving through the tropics is expected to increase cloudiness and rainfall in far northern Australia over the next week or two. This also brings an increased risk of tropical low or tropical cyclone activity.”
As a driver, this atmospheric aspect will greatly influence the above-average rainfall and possible tropical activities in the first few weeks of April within the far-northern parts of Australia, and this could happen as early as during the long Easter weekend.
Dr Benger has urged Aussies to remain vigilant whenever extreme weather is forecast including close monitoring of the weather bureau’s warnings for relevant information related to their regions.
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