Off-season travellers can expect late start to wet season rain

Published: October 20, 2023

While most grey nomads will certainly be well on their way south by now, the surging popularity of the Big Lap lifestyle is persuading increasing numbers of them to beat the crowds by travelling out of season.

And, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), those still up in areas like WA’s Kimberley region may avoid wet season rain for a good few weeks yet.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) told the ABC that, while an El Niño alone doesn’t necessarily mean a weaker wet season for northern Australia, it does have that effect when combined with a positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which is in place now.

BoM forecaster, Angeline Prasad said a hotter and drier build-up period was expected, with higher than average temperatures and a later start to the wet season.

“Your diurnal thunderstorm activity that develops on the sea breeze usually tends to start some time in October, then become quite regular in early November in the Kimberley,” she told the ABC. “But because of this drying effect of both the El Niño and the [positive] Indian Ocean Dipole, this [thunderstorm activity] is likely to be shifted into mid to late November.”

And Ms Prasad said that, when the wet season does kick off, it’s predicted to bring less rain than normal.

“Rainfall totals will be lower than average, compared to the previous three seasons,” she told the ABC.

However, she cautioned that, as always, predictions were variable.

“We could see some areas that may get average rainfall, there may be areas that may get above average rainfall and some areas will miss out,” she said.

The El Niño conditions also means climatologists are expecting fewer cyclones than normal, but Ms Prasad warned those in northern Australia against complacency.

“The north-west WA region, during any typical wet season, will see about four to five tropical cyclones,” she told the ABC. “But with this coming wet season, there is an 80% chance of seeing [numbers] below average, so below that four to five number of cyclones … however, it only takes one tropical low or tropical cyclone to bring rainfall or cause damage.”

  • Are you still in the north? When will you start heading south? Or, have you previously spent a Wet Season in the north? Comment below to share your thoughts.

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