Much of the eastern seaboard is already waterlogged, and it’s only the first day of summer.
The La Nina weather system is now firmly upon us which is great news for farmers, but not so good news for beachgoers.
La Nina is a Spanish term, meaning ‘the girl’, and is caused by trade winds along the equator drawing more moisture into the atmosphere.
La Nina will mean bigger, heavier, and more frequent rainfall and it’s coming at us all summer long.
Dr Nina Ridder, an extreme weather expert from the University of New South Wales, says people looking forward to a nice and sunny summer won’t be getting any of that.
“We will most likely see a lot more flash flooding, a lot more large-scale flooding this year due to this La Nina event,” said Dr Ridder.
Spring has already delivered flooding across parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Western Sydney had its devastating floods in March off the back of a La Nina summer last year.
The bad news is that back-to-back La Nina’s can be even worse.
Insurers are also preparing for the worst.
Bernadette Norrie, from Suncorp Insurance, warns Australians to prepare now.
“You might want to think about important documentation like birth certificates, wills, marriage certificates and storing them in something waterproof,” Ms Norrie said.
“Make sure you check your insurance to see that you’re covered for storm and make sure that it’s not out of date. And we also recommend that if you live in a flood area, make sure you know where high ground is and where your community shelters and meeting points are.”
Suncorp has now teamed up with the CSIRO to design a prototype for Australia’s most resilient home.
The home was tested for fire, flood and cyclonic winds.
“One House was intended as a conversation starter about homes and building standards and making sure they’re constantly reviewed given our environment is changing,” Ms Norrie said.
There’s also a 65 per cent chance of more tropical cyclones this summer, and they could also pack a bigger punch. Tornadoes have already formed down the eastern seaboard ahead of the summer.
Thomas Hinterdorfer is a stormchaser. He devotes his life to chasing wild weather, even all the way to tornado alley in the American Midwest.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a stronger La Nina, it doesn’t have to be a longer-lived one, it’s just the pre-load is already there for flooding to occur,” he said.
“It was a bit of a weird sensation that it’s just you don’t see that [tornadoes] in Australia. We’re not used to seeing it.”
Australians have also experienced a phenomenon called ‘giant hail’ this year, with one storm that hit Mackay particularly memorable.
“The hailstones out of that were extraordinary and I mean it’s going to be labelled as some of the biggest hailstones in the world, not just Australia,” Mr Hinterdorfer said.