Official severe weather outlook released by BOM
AS THE Northern Rivers heads into the annual storm season, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts what's in store for New South Wales.
On Monday, the BOM released its Severe Weather Outlook for October to April, showing an increased risk of flooding for eastern Australia and tropical cyclones in the north, with roughly average potential for heatwaves and severe thunderstorms.
Forecasters said for NSW, the current La Niña is likely to bring more rain to eastern and northern Australia, with some drought affected areas already seeing rainfall deficiencies ease and water storage levels increase.
This means an increased risk of widespread flooding, while heatwaves could be more humid and last for longer plus normal bushfire potential, but more grass could provide more fuel in summer.
While recent decades have seen a decline in the number of tropical cyclones in our region, Bureau climatologist, Greg Browning, said after the catastrophic fires of last summer, it was a very different bushfire outlook this season, with average fire potential for most parts.
"This fire season we're expecting wetter than average conditions in eastern and northern Australia, so long-running large bushfires are less likely," he said.
"However a wetter spring can lead to abundant grass growth, which could increase fire danger as it naturally dries during summer."
Mr Browning said La Niña also suggests an earlier than normal arrival for the first rains of this year's northern wet season.
"On average Australia sees nine to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with four crossing the coast," he said.
"With La Niña this year we are expecting to see slightly more tropical cyclones than average, and the first one may arrive earlier than normal.
"Every northern wet season has had at least one tropical cyclone cross the Australian coast, so we can never be complacent. we know that cyclones can develop at any time throughout the tropical cyclone season, which runs from November to April.
"This means that communities right across northern Australia need to stay be prepared now, and stay informed from the very start of the tropical cyclone season in October, right though until April."