Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: February–April 2019

  • Low streamflows most likely across Australia for February to April 2019.
  • Low flows observed at 70% of locations in January across Australia. Near-median and high flows recorded mostly along northern and eastern coasts.
  • The ENSO outlook is now at El Niño WATCH.

Streamflow forecast for February–April 2019

For February–April 2019, low streamflows are more likely at 112 locations, spread across Australia. Near-median and high flows are likely at 32 and 17 locations, respectively, mainly in northern and eastern coastal regions. Note that these outlooks do not include data from recent higher streamflows in northern Queensland particularly around Townsville. For details on short-term streamflow forecasts, please visit 7-day streamflow forecasts.

For this time of year, 49% of locations have low to very low skill, while 22% of locations have high skill mostly in the southeast and southwest regions. Forecasts have not been issued for 54 locations due to very low model skill or missing observed data. We suggest using the observed climatology for these locations.

Use the map below to zoom and pan to view the forecast locations. Zoom in to view pie chart tercile forecasts, and then click on a pie chart to go directly to the latest forecast.

Note: The locations on the map are either site-based forecasts or total catchment inflow forecasts. Site information provides details on which locations are site-based or total inflow forecasts. For more details about how the pie chart forecasts are displayed go to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Information video

Outlook video

  • Legend image demonstrating moderate to high skill

    Moderate to high skill

  • Legend image demonstrating low skill

    Low skill or missing climate data

  • Legend image demonstrating very low skill

    Very low skill or missing antecedent condition data

January 2019 catchment conditions

Low streamflows were recorded at 148 locations, spread across Australia. Near-median and high flows were recorded at 34 and 29 locations respectively–mostly in northern and eastern coastal regions.

January rainfall was below average for Australia as a whole. Below-average rainfall occurred across the southeastern quarter of Queensland, northeastern New South Wales, Victoria and adjacent southern New South Wales, southern South Australia, Tasmania, most of the southern half of Western Australia, most of the Northern Territory and adjacent western Queensland. Above-average rainfall occurred along the coast of central and northern Queensland, with other small pockets also wetter than average in central northern Queensland and the Top End, and central eastern New South Wales.

Above-average actual evapotranspiration (AET) occurred along the coast of central and northern Queensland, the Top End, central eastern Western Australia, western Victoria, central eastern New South Wales and central part of Tasmania. Below-average AET occurred in most of inland Queensland, northern New South Wales, large parts of eastern Victoria, most of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. These areas of below-average AET mostly coincide with areas of below-average modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm).

Read our monthly Climate Summary for more details on January rainfall across Australia. For more information on January soil moisture and evapotranspiration across Australia, access the Australian Landscape Water Balance site.

Climate influences

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral. However, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook has moved to El Niño WATCH, meaning there is approximately a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the southern hemisphere autumn or winter.

Most climate models suggest ENSO-neutral sea surface temperatures will continue through autumn. However, the current ocean warmth, and the forecast for warmer than average sea surface temperatures later in the year, means the possibility of El Niño remains.

El Niño often, but not always, brings below average autumn and winter rainfall to southern and eastern Australia.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April.

Get the latest El Niño update in our fortnightly ENSO Wrap-Up. Find out about likely seasonal rainfall conditions in our current Rainfall outlook. For a range of other detailed information on Australia's climate go to Climate Information.

7–day streamflow forecasting service

The Bureau also delivers 7-day streamflow forecasts for more than 160 sites around Australia.

Combining near real-time rainfall and streamflow observations with rainfall forecasts, we calculate how much runoff is likely, and flow of this water down the stream network. A forecast is generated for each of the next seven days. Access the 7-day streamflow forecasts.

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