Our gardens are parched and fire danger levels high after a hot and dry start to September. We find out what Spring will have in store for Ipswich.
Keep an eye on the sky, weather watchers – it’s dry at the moment, but the advice from the Bureau of Meteorology is that the odds are favouring a wetter than normal Spring for southeast Queensland.
Senior Meteorologist Dr Andrew Watkins said an expected change in weather patterns would be good for parts of southeast Queensland that have seen dry times during Winter.
“During Spring we are looking like we will have more onshore flow, this will drive more easterlies, so will be looking at that air coming off the warm ocean – very warm ocean offshore at the moment – it will bring a bit more moisture into eastern parts of the state and a bit more warmth as well,” he said.
Degrees - Ipswich's Hottest Day this August
Millimetres - Ipswich's Rain for August
Degrees - Ipswich's coldest Night this August
Ipswich firefighters are prepared for a second round of fire activity if storm season fails to deliver relief.
Acting area director for Rural Fire Services West Moreton, acting inspector Paul Storrs, said he expected Ipswich’s fire season to run through to storm season in about November.
“If we don’t get a lot of rain through storm season, the fire season will continue. That’s the problem, it’s not a good outlook,” he said.
Insp Storrs said local fire crews had been kept busy since late July, particularly with fast-moving grassfires.
“We’ve got a few things that have lined up this year – we have a high load of fuel, very dry winter, we’re going into continuing dry weather with not a lot of rain forecast in the near future, the temperatures are above normal which is drying out the fuel quicker, so we are getting those fires earlier,” he said.
Insp Storrs said it was important for residents to be vigiliant and conscious of the fire season conditions, as well as having a bushfire survival plan in place.
“They’re being lit from very simple things. We had one started with someone grinding, and sparks. It started a grassfire, and by the time he saw it, it was nearly at his house.”
Ipswich residents are among the most water-wise in southeast Queensland, with usage levels close to conservation targets despite no restrictions in place.
During August Ipswich daily residential consumption varied from 157L to 167L per person, lower than Brisbane (165L-175L) and the Gold Coast (197L-210L).
Seqwater communication manager Mike Foster said the record hot and dry winter had seen water use increase across southeast Queensland compared to last year, however was still far below the pre-Millenium drought average of 300L per person per day.
Mr Foster said the region’s Drought Response Plan is implemented when combined dam levels for the region’s 12 major drinking water storages reaches 70 per cent.
Combined levels are currently at 72.2 per cent. “Given our current dam levels, and our ability to move water around with region with the SEQ Water Grid, we are not likely to have to consider formal, mandatory water restrictions for up to another two wet seasons,” he said.
Voluntary water conservation measures are implemented when combined dam levels reach 60 per cent capacity, with mandatory water restrictions at 50 per cent.