Warmer and drier weather expected this spring

Busselton foreshore was lashed by winter storms causing coastal erosion and damage along Geographe Bay.
Busselton foreshore was lashed by winter storms causing coastal erosion and damage along Geographe Bay.

The Bureau of Meterology media and communications manager Neil Bennett said the South West had experienced a wet and colder winter compared with the average. 

Rainfall in Busselton from June to August was 397.9 millimetres, with the heaviest daily rainfall recorded at 18.9mm on June 27, 22mm on July 26 and 21.9mm on August 28. 

Wet winter was due to a series of cold fronts that brought regular rainfall to the region, with thunderstorms and hail recorded on occasions.

Mr Bennett said the South West could expect a warmer and drier than average Spring and Summer this year.

Bureau of Meteorology manager of long range forecasting Dr Andrew Watkins said the outlook suggested spring rainfall was likely to be below-average.

"A number of international models are also predicting a positive Indian Ocean Dipole event could potentially develop during spring which would further exacerbate the drying trend," he said. 

One of Australia's main climate drivers, the El-Nino-Southern Oscillation is currently in a neutral phase.

"Traditionally El Niño events result in warmer and drier than average conditions across eastern Australia,” Dr Watkins said. 

"It is important to remember that the strength of an El Niño event doesn't always translate into the conditions we see.”

Heavy winter rain and persistent dry soil experienced in the South West, could lead to bigger and more frequent bush fires.

​Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm warned Western Australians not to be complacent.

“We are in a much better position this year than we were a few years ago, largely as a result of bushfire risk managing planning by local governments and the state’s prescribed burning program,” he said.

“But more than 90 per cent of WA a is bushfire prone, and there is no predicting when and where it might occur. It’s important the community takes action to prepare now.”