26 September 2023

Third La Niña coming back after dry July

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The National Council for Fire and Emergency Services has said that South Australia recorded its fifth driest July on record this year, with significant rainfall deficits throughout all the State.

“However, above-average rain across some southern districts during June, and regular rain so far this August, mean overall winter rainfall should end up closer to average,” the Council said in its monthly statement.

“Forecasts also support wetter than average conditions developing through spring due to a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and the potential of a third La Niña event.”

It said this put the State in a favourable, but still somewhat unclear, position of waiting to see what level of risk developed for late spring and summer, based on how much rain occurred during the critical months ahead.

“If the forecasts eventuate as expected, then the State’s fire risk may be moderated and a slightly later start to the season may occur,” the Council said.

“However, if the dry conditions observed during July were to redevelop, then South Australia could see the fire season start in the north of the State in early spring and the fire risk steadily increase elsewhere.”

It said the wait-and-see approach meant that residents across the State must take advantage of conditions where possible to prepare their plans and properties in order to cope with increased risk in case the rainfall predictions do not occur.

“This outlook may also see impacts on prescribed burning operations as a potentially wetter forecast may create unsuitable burning conditions.” the Council said.

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