Australia Weather News

It is not an ideal combination, fires then floods, but that is the scenario eastern Victorian residents are being warned to prepare for this spring.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a 70 per cent chance of a warm and wet La Nina weather system across eastern, central and northern regions of the country from October to December, meaning flooding is three times more likely than in an average spring.

It is a fourth whammy for residents following drought, fires and COVID-19.

"Haven't we had one hell of a year so far?" State Emergency Service spokeswoman Jane Fontana said.

"A La Nina is a weather event that happens every few years, and what it means is the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it actually change from their normal state, and for us that means there will be a cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific.

"What that means for Victoria is a wetter-than-average spring."

Areas that received good winter rain are most at risk of flooding.

"A lot of our catchments in Gippsland are already saturated," Ms Fontana said.

"They are at the point where they can't absorb much more water, so areas that have had a lot of rain already, it may only take a small amount of additional rain for those areas to flood."

And areas burnt out by last summer's bushfires are more at risk of flash flooding because ground cover and vegetation have been destroyed.

"If we get a decent amount of rain, the rain will run off burnt areas a lot faster," Ms Fontana said.

"There's also an increased risk of landslides and earth movement because there is no vegetation holding the ground together."

Far east Gippsland still dry

The far-eastern farming communities of Omeo and Benambra missed out on the August rain and are still dry.

Landholders there are concerned about crop yield and pasture growth unless their paddocks receive a decent soak in spring.

Agriculture Victoria's Gippsland fire recovery and drought coordinator Nick Dudley said conditions were incredibly variable across the region.

"If you take somewhere like Omeo and Benambra, for instance, it's not tracking very well at all — they've actually missed out on some of the August rainfall," he said.

"The other thing is the plains heading south from Sale towards Yarram, again, they're starting to suffer a bit.

"Things are looking good in some places; the Cann Valley is good, Orbost is looking pretty good and they've been cutting silage there for the last few weeks, but you talk to farmers there and they definitely need a bit more follow-up rainfall."

Mr Dudley said farmers should develop flood plans and build sediment traps to avoid silt run-off into their dams in the event of flooding.

ABC