Storms driven by a La Nina weather pattern are still forecast for Central Queensland in December and through summer. Picture: Toby Zerna
Storms driven by a La Nina weather pattern are still forecast for Central Queensland in December and through summer. Picture: Toby Zerna

Christmas rain predicted for Gladstone

GLADSTONE received less than an adult dose of medicine – 13.4mm – of rainfall during November but the Bureau of Meteorology says rain will come before Christmas.

This paltry amount of precipitation was far from a record, with the lowest November rainfall for the port city being just 1.4mm in 1982.

The average rainfall in Gladstone during November is 65.9mm, with the highest ever recorded level of 218.1mm achieved in 1961, just four years after records began.

But spare a thought for our northern neighbours, Rockhampton, who saw just 3.4mm fall last month against and average of 61.5mm.

While Bundaberg saw slightly more rain than Gladstone with 17.8mm

BOM climatologist Felicity Gamble said all indications showed that a La Nina should eventuate, but Gladstone had experienced a similar weather pattern as the last few months in 1988 and 1989.

“There were some areas of Queensland that had their driest November on record,” she said.

“It has certainly been a hotter and drier month than we anticipated and there are a few reasons for that.

“The Southern Annular Mode SAM can shift our weather patterns slightly pole-ward or equator-ward in an unseasonal phase, which can mean we can see a lot of our frontal systems shift further south.

La Nina is forecast to bring above average rainfall to the north of Australia
La Nina is forecast to bring above average rainfall to the north of Australia

“We also have the Madden Julian Oscillation, which is more relevant for Gladstone, and that is a pulse of cloud and convection index that moves around the equator on a roughly 30-day cycle.

“When that’s in the Australian region we typically see much more tropical activity, more rainfall and more cloud, and it’s typically when we see more tropical cyclones form.

“Both the MJO and the SAM were both in phases that typically bring quite dry conditions to Australia and they started to dampen the effect of La Nina in November.

“They (SAM and MJO) are going back into a phase that will support the La Nina rather than oppose it.”

The La Nina is still the dominant factor impacting weather in CQ, Ms Gamble said.

“Those two drivers (MJO and SAM) decided to weigh in on our climate during November, but they don’t last as long as La Nina” she said.

“Once it sets in, we tend to have a La Nina for six to nine months, sometimes longer.

“We will see La Nina kick back in and that’s certainly what the model is suggesting.

“From mid December to late December we are likely to see rainfall pick up again.”

The seasonal outlook on the BOM website shows the likelihood of above average rain for CQ.

“We are starting to see the odds of getting good or above average rainfall kick back in from later next week,” Ms Gamble said.

“Around Central Queensland we are seeing chances of around 75 per cent of getting above average rainfall for December.

“Current models show the La Nina is likely to be active until at least mid-autumn.”

November rain:

Bundaberg – 17.8mm. Average – 85mm

Gladstone – 13.4mm. Average – 65.9mm

Rockhampton – 3.4mm. Average 61.5mm

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