Eastern Australia faces flood risk this spring, weather bureau warns

Floodwaters begin to recede after inundating a residential area, following heavy rains and severe flooding in the McGraths Hill suburb of Sydney, Australia, July 6, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

MELBOURNE, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Australia faces a 70% chance of La Nina returning this spring, with a high likelihood of wet conditions over the next three months, just after massive floods hit the east coast earlier this year, the country's weather bureau said on Tuesday.

With La Nina, sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean are cooler than normal, waters in the western tropical Pacific are warmer than normal, water moisture in the air picks up and brings rain to eastern and central Australia.

The three-month climate outlook shows a "high chance of above average rainfall for most of the eastern two-thirds of the Australian mainland between September and November 2022," the Bureau of Meteorology said in a climate driver update.

The return of La Nina this spring, which starts in September, comes after devastating floods hit eastern Australia amid relentless heavy rains earlier this year.

"With wet soils, high rivers and full dams, and the outlook for above average rainfall, elevated flood risk remains for eastern Australia," the bureau said.

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Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Susan Fenton

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