Menacing weather event officially declared for Australia

·6-min read

More rain is expected across most of Australia in coming months after the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed another menacing weather event is underway.

On Tuesday, the bureau announced the presence of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) for the second time in a row – an event that hasn't occurred in more than 60 years.

Typically, a negative IOD will increase the chances of winter and spring rainfall over southern and eastern Australia and warmer than normal days in the north.

This means the eastern states of Australia will once again be hit with rain.

A man walks in front of the Harbour Bridge during rainfall in Sydney on April 7, 2022, as inclement weather triggered evacuation orders in several suburbs of Sydney's south and southwest.
Yet another weather event is set to cause more rain for most of Australia. Source: AFP via Getty Images

What is an Indian Ocean Dipole?

The bureau explained an IOD is defined by the difference in sea surface temperature between — a western pole in the Arabian Sea and an eastern pole in the eastern Indian Ocean south of Indonesia.

The IOD impacts the climate of several countries around the Indian Ocean Basin, including Australia, and the weather event is a significant contributor to rainfall variability.

The phenomenon was also declared in 2021, and consecutive declarations are pretty rare.

This is the second year in a row Australia has confirmed a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Source: Weatherzone
This is the second year in a row Australia has confirmed a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Source: Weatherzone

"This is the first time we have seen back-to-back negative IOD years since reliable records began in 1960," Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Weatherzone noted unlike last year's negative IOD, this year's is expected to be strong and has the potential to last the remainder of winter and spring.

What does this mean for Australia?

Considering the BoM is anticipating above-average rainfall in the central and eastern states, communities are being encouraged to keep an eye on the latest forecasts and warnings.

"With wet soils, high rivers and full dams, and the outlook for above average rainfall, elevated flood risk remains for eastern Australia", BOM's head of long-range forecasting Dr Andrew Watkins said.

In short, a wet spring could be on the cards for most of Australia, except for southwest WA and western Tasmania.

Most of Australia has a very good chance of exceeding the average rainfall for August. Source: Bureau of Meterology
Most of Australia has a very good chance of exceeding the average rainfall for August. Source: Bureau of Meterology

The negative IOD could also lead to increased cloud cover, which might limit daytime heating in Australia and cause below-average daytime temperatures.

The announcement of the negative IOD came after the Bureau issued a severe weather warning would impact most of southern Australia.

Warnings have been made for the country's south, while northern parts of the country are enjoying some warm weather.

Four days of 'significant' rainfall in NSW

The Bureau said over the next four days in parts of NSW there could be significant rainfall and potentially damaging winds.

There are severe weather warnings and flood watches in place across NSW. The Bureau highlighted the flood risk in the state's Central West and Southwest on Thursday, where the heaviest rainfall is expected.

Sydney is very likely to cop some rain on Thursday, receiving between 5 to 8mm, however, the sun is meant to be shining for the rest of the week.

Showers are expected in Canberra right through until Sunday and the parts of the ACT are also subject to a severe weather warning.

On Thursday, Canberra could see 60 to 100 mm of rain, while places like Orange could see up to 60 mm. Later in the week, the rain will be more focused in the north of NSW,

Mr Domensino said Sydney's weather had already been "phenomenal", with several records being broken.

"The city has now broken two monthly rainfall records in 2022 (March and July), bringing its cumulative annual total up to 1951.4 mm at the end of July," he said.

"This is by far Sydney's wettest year to date in records dating back to 1859."

'Damaging trifecta' hits Victoria

A wild weather trifecta of damaging winds, heavy rainfall and flooding will smash parts of Victoria as the most significant cold front of the winter hits the state.

There is a severe weather warning for East Gippsland, North East and West and South Gippsland Forecast Districts as a strong cold front moves over eastern Victoria.

Later this evening, another cold front will approach western Victoria and more damaging winds could develop in the southwest. There are also two current flood warnings in the state.

Melbourne can expect temperatures below 20 degrees and rain through until Sunday.

Across the Bass Strait, Tasmania is also seeing some horrific weather.

Severe thunderstorms are expected in parts of the state, there are several active flood warnings and a road weather warning.

People walk along Swanston Street in Melbourne, Monday, June 6, 2022.
Rain is expected in Melbourne for the five days and much of the state will see weather warnings. Source: AAP Image

Damaging winds devastate South Australia

Several weather warnings are active for South Australia, including damaging winds which will ease on Wednesday, only to return on Thursday.

"Strong to damaging northwesterly winds are possible near western & southern coastal areas during this afternoon & early evening," BoM's South Australian Twitter account said.

However, severe weather is no longer occurring in Adelaide Metropolitan, Mount Lofty Ranges, Mid North, Riverland, Murraylands, Upper South East and Lower South East districts.

Weather brings chaos at Perth airport

Severe weather cut off power in parts of Perth's Airport, which delayed check-ins and flights and led to the city's flight schedule being delayed after a high-voltage transmission pole was damaged.

"Perth Airport is working to activate all systems across its terminals in order to become fully operational," Perth Airport said.

"Delays and cancellations were experienced across the airline networks and we recommend checking with your airline directly for any future flight status updates."

Perth Airport went dark after a blackout caused by a storm. Source: 9News
Perth Airport went dark after a blackout caused by a storm. Source: 9News

The blackout caused by the storm damage also impacted thousands of people in Perth's east.

Perth can expect rain on both Wednesday and Thursday, and a break in the wet on Friday before showers resume for the foreseeable future.

There are several weather warnings in place for Western Australia, including a severe weather warning for damaging winds and damaging surf in the south of the state.

Queensland gets a taste of Spring

While most of the country is dealing with treacherous weather, Queensland is getting a taste of spring.

The bureau said the daytime temperature is up to 10 degrees above the August average in Queensland's west, though there is a chance of a shower across the southern interior and the northeast coast.

In Brisbane, it is forecast to be 24 for Wednesday and Thursday, before hitting 27 on Friday.

There are no weather warnings for the Northern Territory. Darwin is enjoying a nice, partly cloudy week with the mercury reaching the low 30s.

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