Southern Queensland weather forecast for another wet spring – Michmutters

Southern Queensland weather forecast for another wet spring

Authorities and farmers in Queensland are preparing for a wet spring after a “nightmare” winter of rain and flooding.

The Bureau of Metrology this week declared the Indian Ocean Dipole was “negative”, which typically meant wetter than normal weather over winter and spring for much of southern and eastern Australia.

The bureau said there was also a chance La Nina could re-form for a third time during spring.

Condamine farmer Jake Hamilton said he was slightly concerned about the forecast after an “absolute nightmare” winter of muddy paddocks at his southern Queensland property.

Mr Hamilton said he had received more than 150 millimeters of rain in May, which severely delayed the planting of crops.

“We’ve had a 75-tonne snatch strap tied to the front of our planting tractor for the last three months, and it has certainly got a lot of use,” Mr Hamilton said.

“We’ve been bogging machines left, right and centre, whether it’s tractors or sprayers, just trying to get through the mud.

“I don’t think anyone in our area is going to want to go through a harvest that was as wet as the planting that we just had.”

A tractor in a muddy paddock
Tractors have been getting bogged down in wet paddocks. (Supplied: Jake Hamilton)

Mr Hamilton said the season overall had been as good as farmers could have hoped for.

But he said if the forecast for a wet spring did eventuate, it could exacerbate problems with plant diseases.

He said combined with a shortage of fungicides, it could result in significant crop losses.

“But at the end of the day, it is just a forecast,” Mr Hamilton said.

“We’ve had La Nina years where we’ve had little to no rain, so we can only just keep an eye on the short range and see what happens.

“But at least we are sort of preparing for it to be quite wet.”

A man with a beard standing in front of some crops
Jake Hamilton says he’s slightly concerned about forecasts of a wet spring.(Supplied: Jake Hamilton)

Authorities get ready

Authorities have also started preparations for a wet spring, with flooding in Queensland this year having already claimed more than 20 lives.

Dam operator Sunwater said 11 of its 19 reservoirs across Queensland were either at or close to capacity.

A lot of water rushes over a dam spillway
Leslie Dam at Warwick is one of the 11 dams at full capacity.(Supplied: Chris McFerran)

Sunwater executive general manager of operations, Colin Bendall, said communities needed to be vigilant if more early spring or summer rain was coming.

“Some of the preparation we’ve been doing is we conduct exercises with the local disaster management groups, and the Bureau of Meteorology,” Mr Bendall said.

He said staff were also being trained in the use of emergency action plans in the event of any further spills from dams.



University of Southern Queensland climatologist Chelsea Jarvis said there was between a 65 to 80 per cent chance regions such as the Darling Downs would exceed their median rainfall.

She said scientists would continue to monitor the situation to see whether the Indian Ocean Dipole strengthened towards the end of the year.

“The end of this Indian Ocean Dipole event, whether it be October or December, can also determine how the likelihood of rain going into summer,” Ms Jarvis said.

“The second thing I’d be looking out for is what’s going on in the Pacific Ocean with this La Nina event, it’s just sort of hanging out there.”


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