THE upcoming summer is expected to be "very different" to recent summers, with expectations it will be cooler, wetter and with less incidences of bushfires, but Bureau of Meteorology operational climate services head Andrew Watkins says there are "still significant risks".
With La Nina still strengthening and expected to peak in December or January as moderate to strong, in the Bureau's summer outlook, Dr Watkins said increased rainfall was very likely.
"Rainfall across Australia should be quite different to what we've seen in recent years," he said.
"We've expecting above average rainfall across most of the country while a few small areas may expect something close to average."
He said with this increased rainfall was the increased chance of flooding, particularly in south-eastern Australia.
"With a very wet landscape, there is a risk of floods," he said.
Dr Watkins said this risk could be particularly evident in areas affected by bushfires last year where there was likely to be reduced vegetation, which could speed up the opportunity for flash floods, erosion or land slips.
While there was unlikely to be the extreme hot days seen in recent years, he said heatwaves were still possible and would likely last longer and be more humid.
"We can't really have a summer without some heatwave conditions," he said.
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Dr Watkins said there was also likely to be less risk of the extreme bushfires of the past few years.
"Although winter and spring rain have been great for grass growth n some areas, so we are watching for grassfires," he said.
"There will likely be fewer fires than the past couple of years but we can't escape fires in an Australian summer.
"South-eastern Australia is one of the most fire-prone places in the world."
This comes after a spring that is expected to rank in the top five or 10 for temperatures in most states since 1910.
"Spring so far , we've had very variable rainfall pattern," he said.
"It was a dry September, wetter in October and quite dry in November."
He said rainfall was close to average for most of Australia, although ended up 30 per cent above average for SA.
Dr Watkin said there was also risks of a high cyclone season.
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