Parts of Victoria's west smashed by heavy rain

Parts of Victoria's west smashed by heavy rain

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Coastal NSW and Queensland bore the brunt of the flooding.

Coastal NSW and Queensland bore the brunt of the flooding.

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Most of western Victoria has already surpassed its February rainfall average.

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Most of western Victoria has already surpassed its February rainfall average, with some parts receiving more than three times their normal monthly rainfall.

Central and eastern parts are expected to reach their average monthly totals by the end of the week.

Coastal NSW and Queensland bore the brunt of the flooding following heavy rainfall over the weekend, with limited impacts in Victoria.

Localised heavy rainfall lead to minor flooding in the Snowy River catchment at Bombala, NSW, late on Monday.

The Bombala River peaked at 3.82 metres (minor flood level 3m) at around 12.15am on Tuesday, February 11.

The Bureau issued a Minor Flood Warning for the Snowy River to McKillops Bridge, Victoria.

Dry soils have already responded to the recent rainfall.

Parts of western and southern Victoria now have very much above average month-to-date root zone soil moisture.

Areas of the west and centre that had below average soil moisture in January, are now sitting on mostly average to above average year-to-date soil moisture.

The outlook for March indicates slightly below average rainfall for southern and central Victoria is likely, but elsewhere monthly totals are expected to be close to average.

For autumn overall, most of Victoria has roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall.

The reason there's no strong push towards a wetter or drier than average season ahead is because our major climate drivers, the El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), are forecast to remain neutral through autumn.

When our major climate drivers are neutral, we're less likely to see widespread, above or below average seasonal rainfall.

Maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to remain warmer than usual in the months ahead.

August 2019 was the last month Victoria recorded a cooler than average mean maximum temperature.

Prior to that, Victoria had a run of 23 consecutive months of warmer than average mean maximums.

In addition to the natural drivers, such as ENSO and the IOD, Australia's temperature and rainfall variability is also influenced by global warming caused by human activities.

Australia's climate has warmed by about 1.4 degrees since 1910, while southern Australia has seen a reduction of 10-15 per cent in cool season (April-October) rainfall.

  • Jonathan Pollock is a BoM climatologist.
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