Stay alert, but not alarmed

By Ross Henry, QFF Natural Disasters Project Manager

As we enter spring it’s good to start preparing and looking forward to the season ahead. It is important you consider what it will bring and work out whether or not you are ready.

Queensland has just experienced its second wettest winter on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The records fell in a number of regions, with over 11% of the state having its wettest winter on record.

In Yeppoon alone there was over 545.6 mm, smashing the previous winter record of 249 mm. In wester Queensland, the Muttaburra region received just over 200mm, four times the 48.2mm average.

So what does the long term forecast look like? According to BOMs ENSO tracker Queensland remains on a La Nina watch. This means there is a 50% chance of a La Nina developing over the coming months, but latest modelling indicated that even if it does develop it won’t be strong. To quote the BOM ‘there remains limited connection between the atmosphere and ocean’.

Looking west in to the Indian Ocean we have a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), that has increased in strength recently. During a negative IOD eastern Australia generally experiences above average rainfall in spring. So after a wet winter we might be getting a wet spring.

We have already seeing the effects of the wet winter, with much of western Queensland green for the first time in years. Queensland has also seen wide spread flooding over the end of winter into spring, but this has not been unique to Queensland as currently Victoria is having one of the wettest start to September in 100 years.

There are never any guarantees when predicting the season ahead, and there is no reason to be alarmed. But it is good to prepare for what could come, after a few dry years in Queensland we might be a little rusty on what to do when the flooding rains comeback around.