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