Flood warnings in NT as rain hits eastern Australia

Wet weather is expected over much of eastern Australia this week. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gérard

Communities in eastern Australia are at risk of flooding as heavy rains and thunderstorms approach.

The weather warnings come as meteorologists plan to declare another La Nina event.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that several rivers could overflow due to expected precipitation, including the Lachlan River in New South Wales, the Avoca River in Victoria, and the Bulloo, Paroo and Diamantina rivers in Queensland.

Heavy rain is expected this week.
Heavy rain is expected this week.

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But perhaps the starkest warning has come to residents of the Northern Territory.

The BOM said towns in the south of the territory could be isolated “for an extended period” if the roads were affected by the impending rains.

“A series of active troughs will pass through central Australia on Sunday and throughout this week, causing an outbreak of thunderstorms bringing heavy rains that could lead to flooding,” the office said in a warning.

“Watersheds in the flood watch area are wet, some transportation routes are closed, and minor flooding is reported on the Stuart Highway. Wet watersheds can quickly become saturated with water, causing streams to rise rapidly.

The thunderstorm system would move to central and eastern areas by Tuesday, according to forecasts.

Up to 50mm of rain could fall in parts of the territory on Monday, the office said.

Areas that should be affected included the Tanami Desert, Barkly, Central Desert, Western Desert, and the MacDonnell Ranges.

Residents of these areas are advised to stay away from flooded streams and drains, prepare for flooding in advance, and avoid driving in flood waters.

The warnings came as meteorologists prepare to release another ‘climate pilot update’, which is used by the BOM to predict longer-range weather conditions.

The new update will arrive on Tuesday. A spokesperson for BOM declined on Monday to comment on what should be in the update.

The last issue of October 26 said the chance of another La Nina event developing is around 70%.

Rains were expected over much of eastern Australia.  Photo: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gérard
Rains were expected over much of eastern Australia. Photo: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gérard

La Nina is a weather phenomenon related to the changing pattern of sea surface temperatures across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which impacts precipitation and temperature variations in Australia.

Typically, La Nina is associated with more rainfall and more tropical cyclones.

The BOM recently declared a La Nina event last September.

In the October 26 update, weather experts wrote that sea surface temperatures had cooled over a three-month period, “approaching La Nina levels.”

“Most of the international climate models studied by the office indicate that poor La Nina conditions are likely for the coming months,” the update said.

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Dale D. Schrum