BoM outlook urges preparation ahead of severe season

BoM outlook urges preparation ahead of severe season

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The Bureau of Meteorology is warning what could happen in the next few months, saying even with reduced severity of weather conditions, it was important not to be complacent. IMAGE: BoM

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning what could happen in the next few months, saying even with reduced severity of weather conditions, it was important not to be complacent. IMAGE: BoM

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AS Australia enters its "severe" weather period, the Bureau of Meteorology is warning what to expect for the months between October and April.

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AS Australia enters its "severe" weather period, the Bureau of Meteorology is warning what to expect for the months between October and April.

Meteorologist Diana Eadie says there is potential for severe weather to occur at any time but the risk increased during these months.

"This is peak time for bushfires, heatwaves, floods, cyclones and severe thunderstorms," she said.

With the season in La Nina, more rain is expected for eastern and northern Australia, which could impact the way severe weather unfolds.

In SA, there is an opportunity for increased grass growth in spring to raise the risk of grass fires in summer, while heatwaves could potentially last longer, albeit with less extreme temperatures.

It is also likely that there is more rain than usual during what is typically a dry time of year in SA.

The BoM outlook shows there is increased flooding risks in eastern Australia as well as a lift in the incidence of cyclones, while heatwave and severe thunderstorm risks are average.

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Ms Eadie said in recent years the incidence of tropical cyclones had decreased, but on average Australia had 11 cyclones each year, with at least one crossing the coastline, and this year there was a 66pc chance - average to above average - of cyclones.

These cyclones can also link in with severe thunderstorms in southern Australia and increase the risk of heavy rain and potential flash floods.

Bushfires were another major concern at this time of year.

"The 2020-21 fire season is driven by different climate drivers than the past two years," she said.

BoM climatologist Greg Browning said these wetter conditions would mean a change in what to expect in northern and eastern Australia.

"Long running large bushfires are less likely, however a wetter spring can lead to abundant grass growth, which could increase fire danger as it naturally dries during summer," he said.

While WA was still experiencing reduced moisture in the southern half of the state, with dry conditions forecast, which could increase the potential for more fire weather days there, he said.

The Bureau's Decision Support Services general manager Sandy Whight, said the lower fire risk across much of Australia was no reason for complacency.

"Southern Australia is one of the most bushfire prone places in the world in any summer and it's important to remember that, right across Australia, even short periods of hot and windy weather will raise the fire risk, so communities need to have their bushfire plans ready," she said.

But Ms Eadie said heatwaves were the deadliest weather event at this time, with heat stress a significant risk to human health.

While La Nina means the extreme heatwaves of recent years - including a 46 degree Celsius day in Adelaide last January - were unlikely to occur, heatwaves could last longer and be more humid.

"Both of which can increase risk to human health," she said.

She said heatwaves could also have negative impacts on the nation's agriculture and energy industries.

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