Autumn begins with a bang

We can thank ex-tropical cyclone Esther for last week's heavy rainfall. After looping around northwest WA at the end of February, the system brought extra moisture to southeast Australia. Parts of central and northern Victoria recorded more than their typical March totals in the first week of the month. Parts of the northwest have received more than 25 mm, more than 50 mm over parts of central Victoria, and more than 100 mm in parts of the northeast. The highest totals were at elevated sites; Mt Buffalo recorded 170 mm in 24 hours.

What does this mean for the autumn break? The autumn break is the first good rainfall after summer at the beginning of the southern growing season. There are different criteria for the amounts and timing of the rain you need for an autumn break in different regions of southern Australia. For parts of Victoria, 25 mm or 30 mm (close to an inch) in the space of a few days to a week, after 1 March would typically qualify as an autumn break. The autumn break usually arrives over eastern and southern Victoria during March and April, and the northwest during May.

Using the 25 mm criteria, most of central, all of northeast, and parts of northwest and southeast Victoria had their 2020 autumn break last week.

Root zone soil moisture is above average across most of the state. Large parts of central, eastern northern and north-western Victoria have very much above average root zone soil moisture (in the top 10% of records).

The rainfall outlook for the rest of March shows that parts of northern and eastern Victoria are likely to be drier than average. There are roughly equal chances for a wetter or drier than average April. May and June are likely to be wetter than average in the west. Overall, the three-month outlook from April to June shows increased chances of above average rainfall for parts of the west.

There are roughly equal chances of Maximum temperatures being warmer cooler than average for most of the State for the second half of March, and April and May.

Minimum temperatures are slightly more likely to be warmer than average in parts of the north and west for the second half of March, and across most of the State during April and May.

Recent Weather Updates

  • Wettest autumn in decades | 29/05/2020  

    Most of Victoria has been wetter than average this autumn so far, and it is only parts of the far east that have been drier than usual.

  • Chance of a double whammy | 15/05/2020  

    The chance of a wetter than average winter is strengthening for parts of the State.

  • Wetter winter likely for the north | 24/04/2020  

    A wet start to 2020 means root zone soil moisture for this time of year is above average for most of Victoria except for parts of the southwest and East Gippsland.