Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

End of El Nino in sight as 50-50 chance of rain predicted

EL NINO conditions are poised to revert back to wetter La Nina conditions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The predictions came this week, with the bureau anticipating rainfall in late autumn thanks to warm seas in the Indian Ocean.

There is now a 50% chance of a rain-bringing La Nina event gathering strength by winter.

The shifting cycle is associated with the droughts which have hampered grain and beef production in Queensland for the past few years.

However farmers have been burnt in the past by predictions from the bureau.

April, which was predicted to be a wet season for the Maranoa, produced little rain.

February and March, which were not expected to be particularly wet periods, produced significant rainfall.

BOM climatologists have said the hot and dry El Nino seems to be on its way out, though there was only a 50–50 chance that a rain-bringing La Nina would arrive by winter.

AgForce grains president Wayne Newton said Talwood and Goondiwindi growers were in a good position to plant for the winter at the end of the month.

To the north, around Roma and Condamine, growers would hold on for rain to justify the planting.

“Most farmers in the Maranoa will certainly start planting in late April and, as you move to the east and south-east, that planning window will get later and later,” he said.

Mr Newton said the news of rainfall was at least better than the dead-certain drought predicted for the region by the bureau at the same time last year.

“It’s better than last year, when they were saying that we’d definitely have an El Nino winter,” he said.

Last time a similar La Nina prediction was issued by the BOM in April 2010 after a hot and dry El Nino period, it heralded flooding.


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