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09 September 2020
By ANDREW DOWDELL
The Bureau of Meteorology says Wimmera and Mallee residents can expect above-average rain in late spring, ahead of lengthy heatwaves with little respite even when the sun goes down.
The bureau predicted in its spring outlook released last week a less tropical spring and early summer than last year’s sweltering conditions across much of Victoria, with the probability of high rainfall in the northwest of the state.
Bureau climatologist Felicity Gamble confirmed much of eastern Australia was likely to experience more rain.
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“As for much of eastern Australia, it looks like being a reasonably wet spring, and the northwest of Victoria has a 70 to 75 percent chance of above average rainfall, while the rest of Victoria is somewhere between 60 and 65 percent,” she said.
Ms Gamble said while a September outlook was around the average, a prevailing La Niña weather pattern and conditions in the Indian Ocean set the scene for a much wetter spring than previous years.
“We are in the early stages of a La Niña effect in the Pacific Ocean and the last time we saw such conditions in the Indian Ocean was 2016,” she said.
Much of the Wimmera and northwest of the state endured extended dry spells through June and July, which Ms Gamble said was a common occurrence likely brought about by climate change.
“In recent decades we are seeing more frequent dry winters. In the past 20 years only three seasons between April and October have seen above-average rainfall,” she said.
Ms Gamble said the Horsham area had a predicted 74 percent chance of receiving higher than average rain from September to November. The median rain for the period is 107 millimetres.
“It is shaping up that way, we do often see with these patterns that warm sea temperatures off northwestern Australia will result in tropical moisture being brought down across the continent,” she said.
An El Niño weather pattern last summer brought on extremely hot days followed by stormy patches and fluctuating temperatures, however Ms Gamble said that was unlikely in the coming months.
“There are very strong odds of above-average temperatures, and into the summer months that is likely to mean prolonged periods of high temperatures with very little relief at night,” she said.
Ms Gamble said while the bureau was confident in its predictions, there was still a chance the weather could surprise the experts.
“We are reasonably confident there will be a much wetter spring, but even with the 75 percent chance that will occur, that still means there is a 25 percent chance that it won’t,” she said.
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