Wet in the west
Most of Victoria has already surpassed its February rainfall average, with some Western parts
receiving more than three times their normal monthly rainfall. Most central and northern parts are
expected to reach their average monthly totals by the end of the week.
Coastal NSW and Queensland bore the brunt of the flooding following heavy rainfall over the
weekend, with limited impacts in Victoria. Localised heavy rainfall lead to minor flooding in the
Snowy River catchment at Bombala (NSW) late on Monday. The Bombala River at Bombala peaked
at 3.82 metres (minor flood level 3.00 m) around 12:15 am Tuesday. The Bureau issued a Minor
Flood Warning for the Snowy River to McKillops Bridge (Vic.).
Dry soils have already responded to the recent rainfall. Parts of western and southern Victoria now
have very much above average month-to-date root zone soil moisture. Areas of the west and centre
that had below average soil moisture in January are now sitting on mostly average to above average
year-to-date soil moisture.
The outlook for March indicates slightly below average rainfall for northeast Victoria is likely, but
elsewhere monthly totals are expected to be close to average. For autumn overall, most of Victoria
has roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall.
The reason there's no strong push towards a wetter or drier than average season ahead is because
our major climate drivers, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole
(IOD), are forecasts to remain neutral through autumn. When our major climate drivers are neutral,
we're less likely to see widespread, above or below average seasonal rainfall.
Maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to remain warmer than usual in the months
ahead. August 2019 was the last month Victoria recorded a cooler than average mean maximum
temperature, prior to that Victoria had run of 23 consecutive months of warmer than average mean
In addition to the natural drivers such as ENSO and the IOD, Australia's temperature and rainfall
variability is also influenced by global warming caused by human activities. Australia's climate has
warmed by around 1.4 °C since 1910, while southern Australia has seen a reduction of 10-15% in
cool season (April-October) rainfall.