BoM outlook warns eastern Australia could face flooding in wetter-than-average summer

Active La Niña event until February could bring deluge to east coast, but bushfire risk still high in south-east

Large parts of eastern Australia could be at risk of flooding in what is expected to be a wetter-than-average summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its annual summer climate outlook, forecasting above-average daytime temperatures across parts of south-east and far-west Australia, as well as along the northern coastline.

The outlook also forecasts above-average rainfall, especially across the east coast, as an active La Niña event continues to affect the weather.

Dr Andrew Watkins, the bureau’s head of operational climate services, said the La Niña event meant the east coast could expect a deluge come summer.

“New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are expected to see above average rainfall, meaning we face an increased risk of widespread floods.”

The bureau’s modelling forecasts the La Niña event will likely peak around December or January, and persist until February.

La Niña occurs every few years, and is a result of variations in ocean temperatures in the Pacific.

The increased rain likely won’t relieve long-term rainfall deficits in some southern parts of Australia. Watkins also highlighted that the risk of bushfires and grassfires is still high.

“There’s a great chance of grassfires in some areas as recent rain and warm weather have led to vigorous vegetation growth. South-eastern Australia is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world. Even short periods of hot and dry weather increase the risk of fire in summer.”

He also said that although the bureau didn’t expect temperatures to reach the extreme highs of recent years, it was still advising communities to be prepared for heatwaves in the coming months.

“Every summer we see heatwaves across southern Australia. This summer, heatwaves may not reach the extreme temperatures of recent years, but may be longer-duration and more humid, which can still have a significant impact on human health.”

NSW and the ACT are in for a heatwave this coming weekend.

Conditions are expected to reach the “severe” category in some locations, where day and nighttime temperatures are expected to be 10C to 16C above average for this time of year.

Helen Reid, a meteorologist at the bureau, said the conditions would also increase the fire risk significantly.

“It is that hot, dry summer feel. The dryness is coming from that continental inland Australian air, and it’ll also be quite windy, so we are keeping a close eye on fire dangers.”

Reid advised that people across the east coast needed to be mindful of outdoor activities across the weekend, and to keep sunscreen and a bottle of water handy.

Northern Australia is still on track for a slightly above average cyclone season. Watkins noted that Australia usually had between nine and 11 tropical cyclones a year, with four expected to cross the coast.

“People in the north of the country should prepare for tropical cyclones now. And don’t forget tropical lows, which can bring heavy rainfall, flooding and cause significant property damage.”


Mostafa Rachwani

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Eastern Australia faces wet weather and flooding with 70% chance of third consecutive La Niña
Bureau of Meteorology forecasts heavy rain in spring driven by negative Indian Ocean Dipole and warm waters in the north

Caitlin Cassidy

16, Aug, 2022 @5:30 PM

Article image
Cold weather, rain and damaging winds to slam south-eastern Australia
Wintry blast pushing through South Australia expected to reach Victoria, Tasmania and NSW on Wednesday, with possible snow flurries in Queensland on Saturday

Lisa Cox

18, Aug, 2020 @9:26 AM

Article image
Australia’s east gets early taste of winter as temperatures plunge
‘Polar blast’ sends chill from Queensland to Tasmania, while in Victoria rough seas lift boulders on to roads and injure young fairy penguins

Royce Kurmelovs

13, Apr, 2021 @3:21 AM

Article image
Eastern Australia basks in unusually warm autumn temperatures
Sydney experiences highs of 28C when average temperature for May is 19.5C, with warmer weather set to continue for at least a week in many parts of country

Elle Hunt

18, May, 2016 @3:13 AM

Article image
BoM summer outlook warns Australia to prepare for severe fire danger
The hot and dry weather, which has led to bushfires across the country, shows no signs of abating

Lisa Cox

28, Nov, 2019 @12:50 AM

Article image
Australia’s east coast can expect a rainy week ahead, Bom weather forecast says
A southerly change is bringing cold air up from Antarctica causing unusually cool temperatures and heavy showers from Brisbane to Tasmania

Cait Kelly

11, Oct, 2021 @7:35 AM

Article image
Australia heatwave to break Christmas weather records with temperatures up to 47C forecast
Temperatures to reach up to 12C above average in some parts of Australia, with authorities issuing fire warnings

Lisa Cox

24, Dec, 2018 @8:22 AM

Article image
Three dead and one missing as cold and windy weather hits Australia’s south
Falling tree kills man and boy in Sherbrooke, while authorities find body believed to be missing student Poshik Sharma

Calla Wahlquist

15, Jul, 2019 @3:47 AM

Article image
Yes, Australia has always had bushfires: but 2019 is like nothing we've seen before
Record low rainfall has contributed to a continent-scale emergency that has burned through more than 5m hectares and alarmed scientists, doctors and firefighters

Adam Morton Environment editor

24, Dec, 2019 @5:00 PM

Article image
Bushfire fears as south-eastern Australia swelters through record heat
Emergency services say NSW and ACT ‘extremely vulnerable’ to bushfires as temperatures set to exceed 33C in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide

Naaman Zhou

13, Dec, 2016 @4:05 AM