Slow start to storm sea­son

Townsville Bulletin - - Lettersextra - By DANIEL BATE­MAN

THENorth’s storm sea­son has so far been miss­ing in ac­tion.

The cy­clone sea­son started in Novem­ber, how­ever, fore­cast­ers have yet to see any ma­jor storms on the hori­zon.

The un­usual start to the sum­mer sea­son was wit­nessed by the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy last year too, fore­caster Doug Fraser said.

‘‘There were a lit­tle bit more than this year but we had about two t h u n d e r s t o r m s whereas this year we haven’t re­ally had any,’’ he said.

‘‘So that’s pretty much been the case, this year and last year were slow starts to the sea­son.’’

Mr Fraser said the slow start could have been due to un­sea­son­able weather pat­terns.

‘‘We’ve got, say, a win­ter weather pat­tern with big high pres­sure sys­tems mov­ing into the Coral Sea main­tain­ing a coastal ridge, k e e p i n g i t p r e t t y stable,’’ he said.

‘‘So any­time there’s any storm ac­tiv­ity it re­mains well in there be­cause of the stable at­mos­phere cre­ated by the ridge.’’

Mr Fraser said so far De­cem­ber 25 was look­ing like a typ­i­cal Townsville Christ­mas — hot and hu­mid.

Mean­while, State Emer­gency Ser­vice crews are stand­ing by for the event of any big storms.

The twin cities were hit by a huge thun­der­storm just af­ter New Year’s Eve, with light­ning strik­ing at least two homes.

SES Townsville and Thuringowa lo­cal re­gion con­troller Fred Parker said while the weather had been fairly quiet, by na­ture it was un­pre­dictable.

‘‘Just look at Cy­clone Larry — that was in March,’’ Mr Parker said.

‘‘We’d had noth­ing much be­fore then, so yes, it’s hard to pre­dict w h a t ’ s g o i n g t o hap­pen.’’

‘‘But we’re all on standby, all our mem­bers are trained up and ready when needed.’’

The SES has more than 200 tarps, 15 large gen­er­a­tors, two flood b o a t s and s e v e r a l chain­saws in case a cy­clone or se­vere storm strikes Townsville or Thuringowa.

‘‘We’ve got all the equip­ment ready and ev­ery­one’s done all their train­ing, so it’s just a case of what hap­pens and what we need to do,’’ Mr Parker said.

But he said the lack of storms should be the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for res­i­dents to clean up around their homes.

‘‘Peo­ple are bet­ter off clean­ing up yards and clear­ing out gut­ters and down­pipes be­fore the event rather than leav­ing it to the last minute,’’ Mr Parker said.

‘‘With cy­clone packs, have them ready now rather than rush off to the shops just when a cy­clone is form­ing off the coast,’’ he said.

‘‘Leav­ing it till the last minute isn’t a good idea.’’

CHEQUE . . . Dr Ian Poiner (CEO AIMS), Prof Bernard Moulden and Peter Lind­say

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