Australia to be hit with summer of grassfires and floods

La Niña has produced some unstable weather this year and summer will be no different, with floods, grassfires and tropical cyclones expected

Australia to be hit with summer of grassfires and floods

Summer in Australia this year will be one of the wettest in some time, with flooding presenting a greater risk than bushfires in many areas.

Dr Andrew Watkins, head of operational climate services at the Bureau of Meteorology said the La Niña effect this year had caused above normal rainfall, which would continue in eastern parts of the country over summer.

"Overall for this summer we are looking at an increased chance of above average rainfall.

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"We are also looking at an increased chance of above normal streamflow, so our rivers and streams will be higher as well," Dr Watkins said.

"That combination means there is a risk of widespread flooding for Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and some elevated risk in other areas as well."

But the rainfall will not eliminate the risk of fires, with temperatures still set to soar.

Grassfires are predicted to pose more of a threat than bushfires over the coming months.

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Dr John Bates, Research Director of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC said the increased rain this year had encouraged vegetation growth which means on hot and dry days, there is plenty of grass and crops to burn.

"It doesn't take long for grass to try out and burn," he said.

Victoria grassfires are predicted in the north-east and around the Murray River, but this will be a relatively small portion compared to what New South Wales is expected to experience.

Dr Bates said grassfires had the potential to be more dangerous than bushfires because they travel faster, but warned the latter could still happen.

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Wild weather a taste of developing La Nina system

Despite the wetter weather and reduced bushfire risk, Dr Bates said it was critical that everyone have a fire plan in place.

"Have a bushfire plan and a safety plan ... elderly family or people who need assistance, work with them."

Holidaymakers at high risk locations are also advised to be on high alert.

South Australia and Western Australia are also on high alert for grassfires, both of which are experiencing extremely dry conditions.

Queensland meanwhile should brace for an above average amount of tropical cyclones, Dr Watkins said.

Despite the rain caused by La Niña we will still see heatwaves over summer.

Dr Watkins said they may not reach the extremes of last year, but could be longer and more humid which can have a large impact on health.

As the country heads for an unsettling summer, November continues to produce unusual weather, with much of the country heading for a heatwave over the coming days.

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From tomorrow, temperatures will reach eight to 12 degrees above average for this time of year, from Kalgoorlie to Canberra, Senior Forecaster at the Bureau of Metrology Dean Narramore said.

South Australia could see temperatures reach 15-18 degrees above average, with the heat picking up from tomorrow.

Adelaide can expect to reach above 40 from Friday while inland areas are set to reach mid to high 40s.

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The severe heat will start to move east, with a particular emphasis on NSW and QLD who will see temperatures sit in the 40s from Sunday into next week.

Victoria's north and north-west will see similar temperatures, but Melbourne will be spared by southly winds, reaching low to mid 30s tomorrow but receiving a cool change late Saturday.

Source : 9 News More