Can We Drive From Brisbane To Cairns in January

by Lesley From Dublin, Ireland

My husband and I are planning to visit Brisbane around mid January. I know you get very bad storms but was just wondering about flooding. We were hoping to drive from Brisbane to Cairns. I am a bit reluctant to organise a hired car before we go just in case there are floods and we get stuck. I know you cannot foretell the weather forecast for January but I would be grateful for some advice.Driving in the rain is not a problem as we are well used to that, but major flooding would be a problem, as it has to have some impact on the roads.Thanks anyway for reading this.Lesley

Annie Answers

Lesley, you made me laugh. Driving in the rain…no problem. I remember that from living in UK.I totally understand your dilemma. However, the reality is that flooding on the scale we saw in January 2011 is reasonably unusual and this was something that started way back in December. The best option is to keep your eye on the weather forecasts and here is what you need to look out for.At that time of the year there are two things that can cause big amounts of rain which then can lead to flooding. First thing you need to look out for is if we are in an El Nino or La Nina pattern. El Nino patterns usually cause us in Eastern Australia to be in drought conditions – therefore little rain during our normally wet summer months. And La Nina patterns usually cause us to experience more rain than is normal during our summer monsoon times.The big floods that Brisbane experienced and flooded out many parts of Queensland in 2011 were a combination of weather patterns. We were experiencing a La Nina event, but parts of northern Queensland were affected by the other weather pattern which causes lots of rain… a cyclone! We had Cyclone Yasi in 2011 which caused a huge amount of water to be dumped in northern Queensland.

So, what do you need to do? And where will you find the information? I would keep an eye out for the general weather patterns as we get closer to the summer season. The best place to look for this up to date information is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website BOM website. And the page that I think will give you the best information is the El Nino/La Nina update page. If you keep an eye on that page you should see whether we are likely to have more than average or less than average rain during the summer season.

The worst and most intense tropical cyclones usually form later in the summer (around late February through to early April), so you are less likely to be affected by them during January. Unfortunately, they form and occur on a lot shorter time frame so you are not going to have as much warning for them. I believe that the La Nina/El Nino weather pattern is more likely to give you a better indication of whether you can expect enough rain to make it flood at that time or hopefully no flooding.I know that was a bit long winded answer to your question, but I hope I have given you some pointers so you can keep an eye on this yourself and then decide what you will do.I hope that was a little helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any other questions and come back after your holiday and tell us about your adventure. There are so many fantastic spots to see along the way on that trip – definitely a trip of a lifetime.If you liked my answer or this website don\’t forget to like it, tweet it and share on Facebook 😉 Thanks for spreading the word…Cheers

Annie from Brisbane Australia Travel Tips

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