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BOM issues warning as La Nina grows in strength

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The La Nina weather system already under way in the tropical Pacific will be stronger than previously thought, raising fears of significant flooding in Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

In earlier updates, the Bureau had said the current event was unlikely to match the La Nina of 2010–12, which was one of the four strongest on record and caused devastating flooding in Queensland.

But it now concedes it could be equally as strong.

“All surveyed international climate models indicate this La Nina will persist through the southern hemisphere summer 2020–21,” the Bureau said yesterday.

“Most models suggest the La Nina will strengthen, peaking in December.

“Around half the models anticipate a strong event, meaning there is a possibility it could reach similar strength to the La Nina of 2010–12.

“The strength of La Nina impacts on Australia are often related to the strength of the event.”

However, models also forecast this event will be shorter than 2010-12, possibly ending in the first quarter of 2021.

La Nina typically increases the chance of above average rainfall across much of Australia during spring. Above average summer rainfall is also typical across eastern Australia.

Current climate outlooks indicate November 2020 to January 2021 will be wetter than average for much of the country.