Australian Weather Calendar

Captions and picture bylines below.
Russell Denton checks a rain and river-height station near Hervey Bay, Queensland. Graph of Condamine River flood levels plotted against gauges at Condamine and Chinchilla.

October: Queensland’s record floods impact on forecasting

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BUREAU technical officer Russell Denton was among the legion of Queenslanders cleaning up after the extreme La Nina flooding of 2010-11. His duties included maintaining automated river-height and rainfall gauges affected by the flooding. The record nature of many 2010-11 floods made forecasting challenging.

Bureau hydrologists are already striving to further improve flood forecasting by incorporating new data from these latest floods into their models. These data also assist in the development of upgraded flood forecasting techniques for the new Hydrological Forecasting System due in 2013-14. Other improvements will include better integration of rainfall forecasts from numerical weather models, helping to increase warning lead times.

Partnered with state and local government agencies, Bureau hydrologists forecast floods for key locations in 126 river basins. They combine weather computing and catchment modelling with data from 4000-plus automated river-height and rainfall gauges.