The prospect of another devastating flood in Katherine sparked by the return of La Nina rains was debated by weather experts today.
Katherine came in for special attention during a Bureau of Meteorology online discussion about the prospects for the wet season ahead.
The monsoons are expected to arrive early, which Katherine will be happy to hear, and La Nina history tells us the rain totals will be huge.
Information was also presented to the weather briefing about the dire state of the Tindall Aquifer, now at one of its lowest points on record and the reason many locals are finding their bores running dry.
"There has been almost no recharge in the Katherine area for two years," the bureau experts said.
The Daly River system has reached its driest point since 1960-1962, they said.
Much of the briefing was given over to warning people to expect a much different wet season this year, possibly one of the biggest in recent years.
The experts drew on the records of 18 La Nina's since 1900.
This year's La Nina started later but modelling suggests it may become one of the strongest ever.
Then came the discussion on flooding in Katherine.
There have been five floods in Katherine since 1995, the biggest of course was the devastating 1998 flood which almost wiped out the town.
That was an El Nino year, supposedly a drier year.
The 2006 flood came in year of no major climate influence.
The La Nina records show Katherine does not flood according to La Nina.
"Katherine's floods come about because of a tropical cyclone," the experts said.
Of course, the experts are also warning the Top End to expect more cyclones because of the La Nina.
In 1998 it was the decaying cyclone Les which caused the devastation.
"The chance of a flood for Katherine is about average," the experts said.
Earlier the bureau experts said the Top End would experience below average temperatures during the wet season, which was typical of La Ninas.
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