Wednesday 26 October 2011

Monsoon at our doorstep | another year of deluge

La Nina to bring cyclones and floods but it won't be as bad as last summer

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
© The Cairns Post

The horror weather system responsible for Queensland's deadly summer floods is on the way back, promising more floods and cyclones, but it won't be as fierce as in the last wet season.

The weather bureau updated its summer forecast yesterday, warning the La Nina system associated with above-average rainfall will return but probably not to the degree that swamped Queensland last summer.

At least 35 people died and whole towns were evacuated when more than 70 per cent of the state flooded in December and January. Cyclone Yasi crossed the Far Northern coast in February, leaving a trail of destruction. The bureau’s Queensland regional director, Jim Davidson, said the rainy summer ahead would not be as strong or widespread as last year’s.
"Above-average rainfall across the state is more likely than not," he said. He said there was an increased likelihood of four or five cyclones for Queensland this summer, with one possibly coming close to the coast before New Year’s Day.

Mr Davidson could not say how many storms might make landfall but he did not believe cyclone preparations should be any different from past years. He would not be drawn on whether the advice should prompt the State Government to lower the level of Wivenhoe Dam, west of Brisbane, which it failed to do last summer.

The delay over the decision on the dam level was criticised in the interim report of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, as well as by Brisbane and Ipswich flood victims.
Premier Anna Bligh said it could take a couple of weeks to decide whether to release the dam’s water in anticipation of more rain. LNP leader Campbell Newman said the Opposition was yet to determine its position on the dam levels.

Emergency Management Queensland’s Bruce Grady said authorities would be ready if the worst  eventuated. "We prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he said.

 Laura Harding and Kym Agius, AAP Brisbane 

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