FOR the second consecutive month, the Southern Oscillation Index has stayed in a Consistently Near Zero phase.
This phase is based on the shift in value of the SOI from the end of October (plus 2.3) to the end of November (plus 3.8).
By comparing the SOI phase at the end of November and historical rainfall records, the chance of getting above-median rainfall for December through to the end of February across most of Queensland is predominately between 40-60%.
For example, Winton has a 47% chance of getting above its long-term December-to- February median rainfall of 200mm, Dalby has a 47% chance of getting above its long-term December-to-February median rainfall of 245mm, Gatton-Lawes has a 50% chance of getting above its long-term December-to-February median rainfall of 300mm, and both Townsville and Mackay have about a 50% chance of getting above their long-term December-to-February median rainfall of 630 and 770mm respectively.
It's also worth pointing out that with the type of SOI pattern experienced over the past few months there is an increased potential for severe storm activity, including hail and strong winds, across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales for the rest of summer.
The last time there was a Consistently Near Zero SOI phase at the end of November was in 2004.
Other years since 1960 that have had the same SOI phase at the end of November include 1966, '67, '68, '78, '79, '80, '83, '85, '87, '90, '95, '96, 2002 and '03.
It may be useful to find out what rainfall and seasonal conditions were like in your area for December to February in those years.
More information can be found at longpaddock.qld.gov.au.
When using a climate forecast, you should remember the probability or percent chance of something occurring is just that - a probability.
For example, if there is a 70% chance of recording more than 100mm, there is also a 30% chance of recording less than 100mm, that is 70-30, 30-70. It does not mean you will get 70% more than 100mm or 100mm plus another 70%.
For more climate-related information, updates on the SOI or seasonal outlook, go to longpaddock.qld.gov.au or bom.gov.au. Otherwise you can receive a text message with the latest SOI values sent to your mobile.
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