Climate indicators stay unchanged on warm and dry into spring
Thu 22 Aug 2019
The Bureau of Meteorology's fortnightly ENSO Wrap-Up, issued on Tuesday, remains stuck on warm, dry conditions for most central and southern areas of the country. With the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) still neutral, the mostly positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is the dominant climatic driver.
The BoM says "All climate models surveyed by the Bureau forecast positive IOD conditions to continue for the southern hemisphere spring. Typically, a positive IOD brings below average winter–spring rainfall to southern and central Australia, above average daytime temperatures for the southern two-thirds of Australia, and increased fire risk in the southeast."
In the north of the country, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) has been weak and is not expected to produce rain or storms in the next week or two. Waters around northern Australia are cooler than average, which also increase the likelihood of drier than normal conditions.
The current ENSO Wrap-Up is here and the Weekly Tropical Climate Note is here.
NSW, VIC, TAS: Gales and a final front bring high seas, snow and fires to the Southeast
Thu 22 Aug 2019
Updated Fri 23 Aug 2019 23.30 AEST, new information in para 3
The focus of gale to storm-force winds and high seas moved north overnight as the last in a series of cold fronts moved up the NSW coast today. Diabolical conditions continued through Bass Strait and along the VIC and NSW coasts while winds were strong enough in places inland to cause damage.
The main weather stations in and around Bass Strait showed it was not the place to be sailing today. Top gusts reported included Wilsons Promontory 143km/h and Gabo Island 135 on the VIC coast, while out in the Strait, Kingfish B oil-drilling platform 80km off the coast from Lakes Entrance reported 130 and Hogan Island 139km/h. 6329km of air has blown past the anemometer on Hogan Island in the three days to 09.00 today for a three-day average speed of 88km/h.
The Manly Hydraulics Lab waverider buoy, in 90m of water off the Sydney Northern Beaches suburb of North Curl Curl, reported a maximum wave of 13.32m this afternoon, with the highest significant waves (the average of the highest third of waves) reported as 6.28m. Land-based reports indicated 4 to 5m waves on some Sydney beaches in the surf zone. At 10.30, the NSW SES reported it had received 131 call-outs, mainly in the South Coast, Illawarra and Southern Highlands for downed trees, branches and fences but also some buildings unroofed. One of these was Bunnings in Goulburn which lost roofing iron during the evening. More call-outs were expected once the stronger winds with the front hit Sydney. High inland wind gusts included Mallacoota 96km/h and Eildon Fire Tower and Yarram 89 in VIC, and Mt Boyce and High Range 98, Albion Park (Wollongong Airport) and Bombala 93, and Bega 91 in NSW. Full wind details are here and here in the Daily Weather Summary.
Bushfires flared in the strong winds, with the NSW Rural Fire Service reporting 70 fires going at 22.00 today. Only one of these, near Belmont SW of Newcastle, was at Watch and Act status and was affecting traffic on the Pacific Highway. Another fire to its northwest closed the M1 motorway for a period this morning. The rash of fires vindicate the decision by the RFS to declare an early start to the Bushfire Danger Period in 20 Local Government Areas from 1 August.
Wind eased in TAS during the day. Snow was expected to fall as low as 400m overnight into today in southern and highland areas and the northeastern high country with snow easing and levels rising during the day. ABC posted this scene this morning at Mount Field, west of Hobart.
Related media: SMH ‡