Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: November 2018–January 2019

  • Mostly low streamflows across Australia for November 2018 to January 2019.
  • Low flows observed at 75% of locations in October across Australia. High and near-median flows recorded mostly in eastern and northern coastal regions.
  • The ENSO outlook remains at El Niño ALERT, and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is underway.

Streamflow forecast for November–January

For November 2018–January 2019, low streamflows are more likely at 128 locations, spread across most of Australia. Near-median and high flows than usual are likely at 21 and 7 locations, respectively, mainly around southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales after heavy rains in October. For this time of year, more than 62% of locations have moderate to high skill, mostly in the southern half of the country.

Forecasts have not been issued for 59 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

October 2018 catchment conditions

Low streamflows were recorded at 149 locations, spread across most of Australia. High and near-median flows were recorded at 35 and 16 locations, respectively - mostly in Queensland, northern parts of the Northern Territory, and southwestern parts of Western Australia.

October rainfall was above average for coastal areas of New South Wales and Queensland, as well as much of Western Australia. Above-average rainfall extended into the southwest of the Northern Territory and the west of South Australia. Rainfall was below to very much below average for southeast South Australia, most of Victoria and all of Tasmania.

Below-average actual evapotranspiration (AET) occurred across large parts of southeastern Australia for October - including New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, most of eastern South Australia and southwestern parts of Queensland. Above-average AET occurred in northeast New South Wales, southeast and northern Queensland, as well as large areas in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. These areas of above-average AET mostly coincide with areas of above-average modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm), resulting from above-average October rainfall.

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

Climate influences

The Bureau's ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño ALERT, indicating a 70% chance of El Niño occurring in 2018; around triple the normal likelihood. Seven out of eight climate models suggest sea surface temperatures will remain above El Niño thresholds until at least March 2019.

Ocean temperature patterns in the Indian Ocean have been at positive IOD levels now for two months. As a result, 2018 will be considered a positive IOD year. A positive IOD during spring increases the chance of below-average rainfall for southern and central Australia, and can reinforce the effects of a developing, or fully formed, El Niño. Model outlooks suggest the positive IOD will decay during November.

El Niño effects in Australia over summer include higher fire risk, greater chance of heatwaves, and fewer tropical cyclones.

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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