The only thing that distinguishes the image above from one that might have been taken in the UK at this time of year is the blossom just beyond the window. The jacaranda trees are beautiful at the moment in Brisbane, particularly around New Farm Park, where we live now.
We're approaching the middle of spring, which will be followed by the wet season. Weather forecasters have been telling us to expect higher than average rainfall in October and November and an increased chance of thunderstorms because the Southern Oscillation Index (see www.bom.gov.au/climate/glossary/
soi.shtml) is still tending towards a La Niña event, which means an increased likelihood of rain rather than drought conditions.
But the wet this morning was not warm and tropical. It was cool and gusty and grim. And thundery. And everything looked as if it was wrapped in gauze.
Queensland's devastating floods at the end of last year and the beginning of this were the result of a La Niña event (see A bigger wet, October 2010). We were told by weather experts within weeks of these events that the effects of La Niña would wane by the middle of the year. But that doesn't appear to have happened. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) provides regular updates on the SOI – Jenny Woodward, the ABC's lovely weather lady, frequently includes the index in her forecast – and on 28 September BOM reported, 'The continuing cooling trend in the central Pacific Ocean since early winter is consistent with a developing La Niña event.' They predict that it will be weaker than the one of 2010-11. I am sure Queenslanders will be very relieved to hear that.
The Queensland Floods Commission of Enquiry is ongoing. Improved flood mitigation measures have been introduced, the reconstruction of houses and highways continues, and some flood victims are still in dispute with their insurance companies. As we approach the Wet, people can't help but think of last summer's weather events.
It being the second Saturday of the month, the farmers' market was on at the Powerhouse. It's normally busy and bustling like this...
...but this morning it looked like this.
Many stallholders had already packed up and left by 9 o'clock. Australians don't really do wet and windy.