Expected rainfall outlook from December to February.
Expected rainfall outlook from December to February. Bureau of Meteorology

Expert: The rains are coming CQ, be warned

CENTRAL Queensland's wet weekend could be a sign of what's to come, as the Bureau of Meteorology confirm the tropical Pacific has finally reached La Niña levels.

This means above average rainfall along eastern Australia across summer, and the potential for increased warm spells over south east Australia.

Modelling from the bureau suggests the east coast will experience a short-lived La Niña which will persist through the early months of next year.

Although the system will last long enough to be classes as La Niña, the bureau's modelling indicates it will be weaker than the 2010-12 event which cause major flooding in Rockhampton and much of Queensland.


Expected maximum temperature outlook from December to February.
Expected maximum temperature outlook from December to February. Bureau of Meteorology

CQUniversity's climatologist and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography, Steve Turton, explained the La Niña would potentially bring a combination of active monsoons in the north and dry, fire weather in the south east of the country this summer.

"With this week's La Niña confirmation we have a good chance of a solid wet season for northern Australia, providing much-needed rain for drought-affected areas of northern and central Queensland, while the south east of Australia may be susceptible to heat waves and fire weather events," Prof Turton said.

"Signs of a La Niña in the region have increased during the months of spring and the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean have cooled since winter. This all means that we are now at La Niña thresholds.


What is La Nina?
What is La Nina? Bureau of Meteorology

"It's unusual for a La Niña to occur so late in the year which suggests it will be short-lived.

"At this stage we believe it will last until late February and will enhance the wet season rain across areas north of Capricorn.

"Widespread continental-scale rain in unlikely; so not much good news for drought-plagued south east of Australia.

"We won't be looking at something like the back-to-back 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 La Niña events which caused major flooding to parts of Queensland. This will be a much weaker event.

"In fact, a weak La Niña could mean a high risk of heatwaves and fire weather in the south-east of the continent."

He says despite the potential for good rain in the north, it won't change the cyclone outlook which suggests a typical season.