Tropical cyclone outlook indicates a more active season for Queensland
Queenslanders are urged to prepare now with the release of the Bureau of Meteorology's tropical cyclone outlook today pointing toward a more active cyclone season this year.
Bureau of Meteorology Acting Regional Director Bruce Gunn said the warmer weather brings with it increased risks with the onset of the northern Australia fire season in spring, storms – as we have already seen in Brisbane last weekend – and of course cyclones and flooding.
"While recent conditions have brought much needed rainfall to inland Queensland, this has also meant that many catchments are saturated and susceptible to flooding.
"Weak La Niña conditions are likely to influence the climate of eastern Australia, and also point toward a more active cyclone season this year in contrast to the strong El Niño conditions of last summer," he said.
2016-17 Australian tropical cyclone season outlook:
- An average to above-average number of cyclones are expected for the 2016–17 Australian tropical cyclone season (November–April).
- Neutral to weak La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean and warmer than average ocean temperatures to the north and east of Australia have influenced this year’s tropical cyclone outlook.
- During neutral years, the first tropical cyclone to make landfall typically occurs in late December. In La Niña years, the first cyclone to make landfall over Australia typically occurs earlier, around the first week of December.
The Australian region typically experiences more tropical cyclone activity during La Niña years.
During the 2015-16 season Tropical Cyclone Stan was the only coastal crossing, near Port Hedland in Western Australia in late January. In February Tropical Cyclone Tatiana developed in the Coral Sea approximately 1000km northeast of Mackay, but posed no threat to the Queensland coast.
The release of the Tropical Cyclone Season Outlook for 2016–17 marks the start of severe weather public awareness campaigns in northern Australia. Residents in northern coastal regions are being reminded to prepare now for the coming season.
Tropical cyclones are low pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters and have at least gale force winds (sustained winds of 63 km per hour and gusts of 90 km per hour or more) near their centre. Even tropical cyclones well offshore can have significant impacts on coastal areas. High winds, storm surges and large waves can create dangerous conditions.