Change in patterns gives hope for rain relief | The Outlook

Change in patterns gives hope for rain relief

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Over in the east of the continent, any rainfall potential is likely to be modest and patchy

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AFTER a remarkably dry six to eight weeks in all Australia apart from south-east Queensland, the Mackay region and parts of north-east NSW with storms, the dominant weather patterns are slowly changing and fortunately the change could lead to more rainfall as well as humidity.

Areas of convection have started to increase over north-west Australia and the north-east Indian Ocean.

This is likely to increase a little more in the coming one to two weeks, which in turn will see increased potential for rain in the north-west of Australia.

Over in the east of the continent, any rainfall potential is likely to be modest and patchy (but at least something).

An increase in moisture when combined with the above average temperatures and embedded heat trough over the central to eastern areas of the state is likely to bring isolated showers and storms.

It is possible that some of these storms will bring localised heavier falls of 20 to 40 millimetres in a short period of time but most areas will see lighter falls of five to 20mm at the most at this stage.

Being storm rainfall will also mean that any rainfall potential will be hit and miss - in other words, quite patchy.

There are no signs yet of any significant break or anything that could be drought-breaking. However, it is at least a step in the right direction of rainfall.

In the tropical Pacific Ocean, most indicators of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation remain in a neutral phase.

However, there are some areas of warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific to the north-east of Australia and this has potential to increase moisture in-feed into north-east Australia in latter part of summer.

It also leads to one or two international models hinting that a La Nina threshold could be approached by autumn, which would be good news for Australian rainfall chances but it is too early yet to get too excited about this option.

Meanwhile the Indian Ocean Dipole is almost back to zero and its negative influence over our rainfall has effectively gone, making the Pacific a little more important in the coming months.

Also, to the south the Southern Annular Mode is also unlikely to affect our weather for the next few months, as is normal over summer and early autumn.

The longer-term chances for useful rain in late autumn and winter will depend on how the IOD and SAM behave in March and April.

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