Hold on to your brollies besties, meteorologists have reported that we’re going to have a very wet girl summer, with a La Niña event expected to be announced by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) sometime this week.
Eastern Australia has experienced quite the bit of wet weather these past few weeks, with the spring season off to a very thunderstormy start. And by that I mean several cities have now experienced supercell thunderstorms with golf-ball sized hail. Love that for us.
Unfortunately, the wet, stormy weather is not going to end any time soon. BOM has warned of yet more rain, with the Northern Territory potentially becoming isolated due to impacted roads. Yikes.
— Michael Blok (@michaelblok26) October 14, 2021
“A series of active troughs will move through central Australia on Sunday and during this week, causing an outbreak of thunderstorms bringing heavy rain which may trigger flooding impacts,” BOM said.
“Catchments in the flood watch area are wet with some transport routes closed and minor flooding reported on the Stuart Highway. Wet catchments may become waterlogged quickly causing rapid creek rises.”
Insert the upside-down smiley face emoji here, thanks.
Severe Weather Update: significant rainfall totals and severe thunderstorms. Video current 3.30pm AEST 8 November 2021.
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) November 8, 2021
The thunderstorm system is expected to make its way downtown to central and eastern areas by Tuesday, potentially causing the Lachlan River in NSW, the Avoca River in Victoria, and the Bulloo, Paroo and Diamantina rivers in Queensland to overflow.
The wild weather is reportedly part of a La Niña event, which meteorologists are expecting to be announced officially by BOM sometime this week.
“Australia’s most significant driver of weather patterns, La Niña, is now active for a second consecutive year and will fuel weather systems with moisture for up to six months,” senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said, per Sky News Weather.
“Last week, sea surface temperatures across the central equatorial Pacific officially dropped below La Niña thresholds.
“This change in ocean temperatures coupled with the atmosphere leads to a shifting of weather patterns across the entire globe,” he said.
The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook has been raised to La Niña ALERT.
Historically, when La Niña ALERT criteria have been met, La Niña has then developed around 70% of the time, around 3 times the normal likelihood.
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) October 12, 2021
For those of you who don’t know, La Niña is a weather phenomenon related to sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and typically means we’ll see more intense rainfall and increased tropical cyclones. The rain has to come from somewhere though — typically, if we’re getting wetter weather conditions in a La Niña event here, then California is more likely to have bushfires over there.
“La Niña should ensure a flood risk continues through summer and it would be no surprise to see a repeat of the Hawkesbury-Nepean floods from March,” Saunders continued.
“Indeed the current La Niña follows an event last summer which culminated in record flooding along parts of the eastern seaboard in March,” he said.
BOM declared a La Niña event last year too, which isn’t a good sign — two of these weather events so close together typically mean more dangerous weather.
“The last time back to back La Niñas were declared, around a decade ago, Australia recorded its wettest 24 months on record, including major Brisbane floods and Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi.”
Cyclone Yasi was the biggest storm in Queensland’s history, displacing 10,000 people from their homes and resulting in a fatality.
As apocalyptic as this all sounds, a La Niña event isn’t all bad news — the cooler, wetter conditions mean the risk of bushfires is a lot lower — something I think we’re all relieved to hear after the 2020 fires.