The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed the strong La Nina weather event, which had a big impact in triggering the record-breaking spring rainfall and floods, is slowly breaking down.
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In its latest La Nina update, the Bureau said the event was still in place in the Pacific Ocean but was slowly weakening.
La Nina, along with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole and persistently positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode, contributed to Forbes' third wettest year on record and biggest flood peak since 1952.
The airport gauge recorded 997.8mm of rain in 2022, with the 118mm recorded on November 14 our highest total for 24 hours on Bureau of Meteorology records dating back to 1876.
That's an annual total just shy of 40 inches of rain, and a daily total of nearly five inches.
That 24-hour deluge triggered what has been described as "an inland tsunami" that claimed two lives and swept homes clear off their foundations in Eugowra, and saw Forbes flood to its highest levels since 1952.
The only years with higher rainfall were 1950 with 1130mm recorded at Camp Street and 2021 with 1052.2mm at the airport.
The past three years of significant and prolonged flooding along the Lachlan River couldn't stand in harsher contrast to the previous three drought years.
From January 2020 to December 2022 Forbes airport recorded 2844.2mm or 113.76 inches of rain. To the best of this writer's mathematical abilities that is the wettest three-year period on Forbes records.
Rainfall records for 2017 are incomplete with no data on the Bureau's website for October to December, but with the data that is available there's a total 928.6mm on the record from January 2017 to December 2019.
The Bureau forecasts tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures will warm towards neutral levels over coming weeks, with changes in the atmosphere also tipped to head towards the neutral phase.
While La Nina is currently easing, Bureau officials stated January should still be treated with caution as accuracy in predicting change in the El Nino Southern Oscillation index at this time of year was low.
Those looking for drier conditions are warned La Nina is not the only driver of wet weather, with the BOM saying the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is currently set up at present to deliver wet summer conditions in parts of the country.
The SAM is currently strongly positive and will remain that way until at least mid-January.
The Bureau said during summer, a positive SAM increases the chance of above-average rainfall for eastern New South Wales.
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