OUTLOOK: More bushfires, floods expected for CQ
SUMMER will likely be a wet one for Central Queensland as a confirmed La Nina event brings an increased risk of tropical cyclones and floods to the region.
The outlook was this week revealed as part of BOM's Severe Weather Outlook - mere weeks after officially declaring a La Nina weather event.
An increased number of natural disasters is also related to a predicted early onset of the wet season.
Meteorologist Kimba Wong said higher volumes of above average rainfall further away from the coast is predicted, meaning Rockhampton could receive a drenching compared to Yeppoon.
"La Nina tends to mean an early onset to the wet season and a slightly wetter wet season than you would normally have," she said.
However, both severe and widespread thunderstorms for the region are expected to remain within the average amount.
Despite a decline in tropical cyclones across the state over recent decades, climatologist Greg Browning admitted that will not be the case for the upcoming months.
"On average Australia sees nine to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with four crossing the coast."
"This year we are expecting to see slightly more tropical cyclones than average, and the first one may arrive earlier than normal," Mr Browning said.
It also appears the risk of a repeat bushfire season which devastated parts of the region this past summer has slightly diminished.
He said wetter than average conditions could mean long-running bushfires were less likely, though noted a wet spring could lead to excess grass growth and increased fire danger as it dries in summer.
"After the catastrophic fires of last summer, it's a very different bushfire outlook this season, with average fire potential for most parts."
BOM's GM of Decision Support Services Sandy Whight added a decreased fire risk for the region should not result in lack of preparedness.
"It's important to remember that, right across Australia, even short periods of hot and windy weather will raise the fire risk
She further said while heatwaves may not be as severe, they may last longer and be more humid - both of which could prove detrimental to human health.
To learn more, visit The Bureau's severe weather outlook page.
What causes La Niña?
La Niña occurs when equatorial trade winds become stronger, changing ocean surface currents and drawing cooler deep water up from below. This results in a cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The enhanced trade winds also help to pile up warm surface waters in the western Pacific and to the north of Australia.
The warming of ocean temperatures in the western Pacific means the area becomes more favourable for rising air, cloud development and rainfall. As a result, heavy rainfall can occur to the north of Australia. Conversely, over the eastern and central tropical Pacific, air descends over the cooler waters, meaning the region is less favourable for cloud and rain. The air rising in the west and descending in the east enhances an atmospheric circulation - called the Walker circulation - which can result in changes to the climate felt across the globe.