Wild weather ex­pected

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Camp­bell Gel­lie camp­bell.gel­lie@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

NORTH Queens­land is in for an­other ner­vous storm sea­son ac­cord­ing to weather fore­caster Jeff Hig­gins, who has pre­dicted there will be 11 cy­clones de­vel­op­ing in the Australian re­gion between now and April 30.

Mean­while, the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy’s of­fi­cial trop­i­cal cy­clone out­look shows the po­ten­tial for up to 13 cy­clones to form.

Mr Hig­gins posted on his weather fore­cast­ing web­site, Hig­gins Storm Chas­ing, that five of his 11 pre­dicted cy­clones were to de­velop into a se­vere cat­e­gory three or worse.

“Also up to five of the 11 cy­clones could po­ten­tially cross the Australian coast­line,” he wrote.

Mr Hig­gins broke down his fore­cast to show which re­gions would be hard­est hit by cy­clones this sea­son.

The eastern re­gion of the Queens­land Coast, Coral Sea and Gulf of Car­pen­taria is fore­cast to have four cy­clones with two hav­ing a chance or de­vel­op­ing into a cat­e­gory three or higher.

“Two of these sys­tems po­ten­tially cross­ing the Queens­land coast with one along the Gulf Coast and one along the East Coast,” he wrote.

This fore­cast is not as alarm­ing as last sea­son when Mr Hig­gins pre­dicted 13 cy­clones, and two pos­si­bly mak­ing land­fall across north­ern Queens­land.

How­ever, he did make a note to his sub­scribers that it only took one cy­clone this sea­son to cause wide­spread damage.

“The big­gest threats are heavy rain caus­ing ma­jor flood­ing, sea surge caus­ing coastal in­un­da­tion and de­struc­tive winds caus­ing prop­erty and in­fra­struc­ture damage,” he wrote.

“All of these threats are po­ten­tially life threat­en­ing.”

Mean­while, BOM says Queens­land is in for a “typ­i­cal” sea­son of storms and cy­clones, with an in­creased risk of bush­fires and heat­waves but less prospect of se­vere flood­ing events.

In a typ­i­cal sea­son like the one fore­cast for the months ahead, 10-13 cy­clones would form in Australian waters, with around four of these cross­ing the coast – the first of them typ­i­cally in late De­cem­ber.

“As Cy­clone Deb­bie showed us barely six months ago, it only takes one cy­clone to cross the Queens­land coast to put thou­sands of lives and homes in dan­ger and cause bil­lions of dol­lars of damage,” Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said.

“That’s why it is so im­por­tant for all Queens­lan­ders to be aware of the risks of se­vere weather events, no mat­ter where they live.”

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy Act­ing State Man­ager Queens­land Vic­to­ria Dodds said se­vere weather sea­son was well un­der way with a very ac­tive start to the fire sea­son.

“Se­vere thun­der­storms and flash-flood­ing are a com­mon fea­ture of the Queens­land sum­mer, as we have just seen in Bund­aberg,” Ms Dodds said.

PHOTO: NASA GOD­DARD MODIS RAPID RE­SPONSE

STORM SEA­SON: A satel­lite im­age of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie along the Queens­land coast as seen from NASA’s Aqua Satel­lite.

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