BOM’s severe weather long-range forecast shows high floods and early tropical cyclone risk

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its long-range forecast for the next six months, and it includes an increased risk of flooding for eastern and northern Australia.

Forecasters also reported an increased risk of an above average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows, which are set to affect the eastern seaboard.

“October to April is the peak time for flooding, tropical cyclones, heatwaves, bushfires and severe thunderstorms,” the BOM said in its latest report.

“This reflects the impact of current climate influences including La Niña and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole.”

As the temperature rises, Australia has been told to expect a wild weather season, including an increased risk of prolonged heatwaves in southern areas with higher humidity

While there is normal bushfire potential in eastern states, an elevated risk of grass fire in southern Australia has been reported.

There is also a risk of severe thunderstorms, with a “possible increase in risk of thunderstorm asthma events if conditions are dry in late spring and early summer”.

The BOM reported there is a more than 70 per cent chance of at least 11 tropical cyclones this season in eastern Australia, including Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Australia has never recorded a season without at least one tropical cyclone crossing the coast since records began more than 50 years ago.

“Communities are urged to prepare now as there is an increased chance that the first tropical cyclone in the Australian region is likely to be earlier in the season,” senior meteorologist Jonathan How said.

Flooding across the southern states continues to be an issue, with residents in high-risk areas in NSW and Victoria told to prepare to be cut off.

Despite conditions easing on Tuesday, there are 101 flood warnings currently in place in NSW, including three emergency warnings.

Flooding is also affecting parts of Victoria along the Murray River, with 56 warnings in place for the state.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday morning catchments were completely full and any additional rain could trigger floods.

“We know that we’ve had record rainfall to this point and the ground is absolutely sodden; so even a minor amount of rain would be a real risk in terms of flooding,” Mr Andrews said.

“But it’s not a minor rain event that we are forecasting. There will be significant rainfall in certain parts of the state, and that’ll pose a flooding risk to communities in lots of different places.”

Minor warnings have also been issued for the Barwon, Goulburn, Kiewa, King, Snowy, Werribee and Yarra rivers.

Emergency Management Victoria Deputy Commissioner Chris Stephenson said Victorians in flood-risk areas need to prepare “for up to 72 hours of isolation”.

“That includes making sure it’s not just yourself, but your neighbours – that you’ve got provisions for your pets, you’ve got your medication available,” he said.

Melbourne is also expected to be hit by heavy rain on Thursday with a risk of flash flooding in some areas.

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