Early spring could be wet and warm for Wellington

Sarah Luke

WELLINGTON Shire is “likely” to be in for a wet and warm spring, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s spring outlook, released last week.

The entire region has a “likely chance” of exceeding its median rainfall between September and November.

With a median of 155 millimetres, Sale has an 81 per cent chance of exceeding 150mm this spring, and a 41 per cent chance of exceeding 200mm.

Giffard (with a median of 159mm) has an encouraging 85 per cent chance of exceeding 150mm, and 46 per cent chance of reaching 200mm.

Yarram (with median of 203mm) has a 74 per cent chance of reaching at least 200mm.

Up north, Maffra has an 83 per cent chance of reaching 150mm, and a 44 per cent chance of reaching 200mm – past its median of 167mm.

Stratford and Briagolong’s farmers have been enjoying some overdue wet weather this year, and by all official accounts, it looks set to continue.

With a shared median of 177mm for spring, Stratford has an 86 per cent chance of surpassing 150mm, and Briagolong 85 per cent.

Days during September to November are also likely to be warmer than the median of about 20 degrees Celsius for most of Wellington Shire.

Spring nights are also very likely to be warmer, with a greater than 80 per cent chance of the mercury rising above the median of about eight degrees in most local areas.

More broadly, the bureau has predicted a wetter and colder than average September to November for Victoria, but overnight temperatures are likely to be above average for the entire country.

There is a high chance of exceeding the median rainfall for central and northern Victoria, because of increased likelihood of a La Nina forming.

The bureau predicts higher than average temperatures, especially at beginning of spring until mid-September.

The bureau’s manager of climate operations Dr Andrew Watkins said the outlook was being largely driven by changes in sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans.

“Most long-range forecasts analysed by the bureau, including from our own climate model, are indicating a La Nia could develop in the spring, which typically results in above-average winterspring rainfall for Australia, particularly across eastern, central and northern regions,” he said.

Dr Watkins said spring was typically a time of year when outlook models had a higher reliability.

“At this time of year, we start to see some of our main climate drivers locking in, which gives more certainty about what our weather patterns will be like in the coming months,” he said.

“We’re starting to see that in the Pacific with a La Nina beginning to take shape, and we are also seeing some changes in the Indian Ocean, which may also boost the chance of rain during spring.”

Dr Watkins said the winter period just passed was likely to be one of the warmest on record, with above average temperatures particularly prevalent across Western Australia and Queensland. It is likely to be one of the 10 warmest winters on record.

Dr Watkins also said that while the start to winter was very dry, August was the first wetter-then-average August since 2016.

It was a drier than average winter across most of the state except for in Gippsland, where several coastal lows bought heavy rainfall resulting in a wetter than average winter.

Statewide, rainfall was likely to be 25 per cent below the winter average, and the lowest since 2006.

Days were warmer than average in most of the eastern and south-central Victoria, and nights were cooler than average in most of western Victoria, but warmer than average in Gippsland.

The bureau’s official winter summary will be released today.