Slow start to storm season
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