After a very dry winter and start to spring for much of the country, the outlook for the October to December 2017 period remains on a knife-edge – with a near equal chance of a wetter or drier three months eventuating. The seasonal conditions in the lead up to summer 2017/18 will be very telling for the sheep and cattle markets over the coming months.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s three month climate outlook is largely neutral for the three months as a whole. Eastern NSW, western Victoria and southern SA have a somewhat higher probability of receiving above the median rainfall, while southwest WA and areas surrounding the Gulf of Carpentaria have a slightly lower chance. The remainder of the country remains fairly neutral.
Looking at the outlook month-by-month, however, the prospects for October 2017 are considerably more positive for eastern Australia. Almost all of NSW, SA and Queensland are very likely to receive above-average rain for October 2017. In particular, the likelihood for southern Queensland, northern NSW and central SA is higher than 75%. Eastern regions of Victoria have a 60% chance of a wetter than average month, while the probability for remainder of the state is more neutral.
November 2017 is typically when northern Australia starts to receive more widespread and heavier falls. In 2017, Queensland and the northernmost regions of the country have a roughly equal chance of a wetter or drier than average month. The probability across the south-eastern states mostly ranges between 35-40%, while for southern WA and the Kimberley region is for a drier conditions is slightly lower.
In terms of the northern Australian wet season, the likelihood of an early onset is slightly greater in parts of northern Queensland and the Pilbara in WA. A later than normal onset is more likely in the area surrounding the WA-NT border.