Summer weather outlook from Bureau of Meteorology warns the wet is likely to continue in the east

| 24.11,22. 11:35 PM |

Summer weather outlook from Bureau of Meteorology warns the wet is likely to continue in the east

Storm clouds loom over beach.
Wet and wild weather is expected to continue as the tropical wet season kicks in.(Supplied: Karen Newlyn)

Summer is just days away and the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) official outlook suggests it's set to be a summer of contrast. Dry in the west and wet in the east.  

"Eastern Australia is tending to still look at above-average rainfall, unfortunately, for the eastern half of Queensland, New South Wales, much of Victoria and eastern Tasmania as well," according to Andrew Watkins, head of long-range forecasting at the BOM.

"But across in the west, we're actually looking at an increased chance of below-average rainfall across a number of areas.

"Remembering though, in southern WA, it's quite a dry time of the year."

When it comes to temperatures, they are set to mirror the rain.

"Where we're expecting it to be reasonably wet and cloudy it's looking like it'll be cooler than normal," he said.

New South Wales, Victoria, parts of Queensland and south-eastern Western Australia are likely to have below-average daytime temperatures while the rest of the country is relatively warm.

But cloudy skies are expected to keep overnight temperatures warmer than average for most locations, with the exception of parts of New South Wales and the Nullarbor.

IOD on the way out but La Niña hanging on

The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which has been supplying moisture from the north-west over the past few months, is currently in the process of exiting stage left on cue as the monsoon moves down.

But that doesn't mean the tap is turning off overnight.

"It would be lovely if the oceans changed and immediately the atmosphere changed as well," Dr Watkins said.

"But look, unfortunately, you do tend to get some lingering effects at the end of an IOD or at the end of La Niña as well.

"Certainly easing back some of that influences, in terms of a wetter than normal conditions."

The La Niña is currently expected to hang around until early 2023.

"Typically a La Niña would break down in the autumn. This one could break down a little earlier than that, which would be a bit of a relief after three La Niña summers in a row," he said.  

Raised flood risk going into summer

According to Dr Watkins, the current outlooks are suggesting higher odds of above-average rainfall during December with the odds easing back a little as we get further into summer.  

"To some degree, that's related to the IOD easing, and also the possibility of the La Niña easing a little later in the summer, as well," he said.

"But unfortunately, the odds aren't going back to dry conditions. We're still on the wet side, even though the odds are reducing."

On top of already saturated conditions.

Roads closed sign due to flooding at Jimboomba.
Flooding is expected to remain a feature this summer.(ABC News: Phoebe Hosier)

"As soon as you've got wet soils, full rivers and dams that flood risk is going to remain high, regardless of the rainfall patterns.

"We've got a landscape set up now to not handle a lot more water. So we just need to be careful with any rain we get."

Cyclones can also bring their own flood risk.

The overall trend has been towards a reduced number of tropical cyclones in recent decades but La Niña ups the risk.

This season there is a 73 per cent chance of an above-average number of tropical cyclones.

Heatwaves, fires and cyclones

With all the recent flooding the focus may be on the rain but it is important to note that it does not mean we are off the hook for heatwaves and fires this year.

Days with less extreme heat than usual are expected, but a La Niña actually encourages heatwaves due to high overnight temperatures and humid conditions.

Likewise, the abundant growth over recent years ups the grassfire risk, especially if we get a stretch of hot dry conditions at the end of summer.

And of course, it has not been nearly as sodden in the west. The official summer bushfire outlook is expected to be out next Tuesday.

Wet out in the paddocks

A potentially wet start to summer is not good news for farmers trying to get a crop off this summer.

Kellie Penfold is a partner in a mixed farming operation at Henty in southern New South Wales.

"It's probably been one of the most challenging years, we've had in our 30 years of farming together, my husband and I," she said.

The relentless rain, cold and storms mean she hasn't got a break.

"You never should wish for no more rain, but probably no more rain would be quite good for a while, just to let it dry out," she said.

Tractor and silo in front of stormy skies
Many farmers are hoping for a break in the rain in the coming months.(Supplied: Damien Blazer)

Her harvest has been delayed but she is still hoping it will go as smoothly, without too many storms or rainy days to slow them down.

"It's going be a challenging harvest regardless just because of the wet paddocks and not being able to get grain trucks out into paddocks because it's just too boggy," she said.

Over in the Wimmera, Victoria, Susan Findlay Tickner was hoping for rain heading into spring but she got more than she bargained for.

"It started raining in September, October and November, and it didn't stop. We're tracking in about 100 millimetres above our average rainfall," she said.

She said it has been variable in the Wimmera, with storms and hail decimating some crops but missing the next farm just down the road.

"We've lost about 50 per cent of our lentils because they did get wet feet and didn't do very well," she said.

"We did abandon our hay because we weren't seeing a window where it would stop raining for long enough for us to get it bailed."

But she is still optimistic about her canola.

"Of course, our biggest challenge is not just getting machinery across the paddock, it's also getting the grain to the silos along on our local road network because our roads have been so badly damaged by the rain."

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