Baton Down the Hatches

The Weather Bureau is warning of a season of cyclones for Queensland and that may also mean more rain and a big flood risk for the regions.

andrewn-watkins-bomAndrew Watkins, Manager of BOM’s Climate Prediction Services says abnormally warm waters we have experienced during winter are creating conditions that will see us in Australia return to a normal or even more active cyclone season, despite last seasons’ relative calm.

He says the waters have been 2 to 4 degrees warmer than average.

“”Certainly, we’ve seen temperatures approach record levels over the winter.”

And that means we’re unlikely to see another quiet cyclone season with last year seeing us record only three cyclones during the season. None of which reached category-3 strength – another first in the 47 years of records, according to the bureau.

cyclone-qldWe’re looking toward 11 this coming season and that is the average for Australia most years.

The Bureau says also the higher level of cyclonic conditions would also mean more rain to regions.

Those falls would come on the heels of a September that was the country’s second-wettest on record going back to 1910.

“The soils, particularly in eastern Australia right up into the north, are close to capacity in terms of how much water they can hold,” Dr Watkins said.

“The soils are sodden at the moment and our rivers are full, and so if there are any significant or long-lasting rain events, the water doesn’t have a lot of places to go,” he said. “We have to be very careful about the flood risk at the moment for eastern Australia.”

The “Norm’ for Australia during cyclone season is to see 4 of the average 11 that develop cross the coast, bringing high winds, powerful waves and storm surges to, Queensland parts of West Australia and the Top End and loads of rain.

Unlike last year, conditions in the Pacific have shifted away from one of the strongest El Ninos on record towards a La Nina.

Meanwhile Queenslanders urged to ‘get ready’ for storm season

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk launched the RACQ Get Ready Week together with Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad.

“All Queenslanders should ensure they are prepared for a summer of potentially severe weather.”

storm-season“Get Ready Week is also about looking out for your friends, neighbours and elderly relatives and doing your part to ensure your entire community is as ready and resilient as it can be.”

“One of the most important things to do is to take action and have an emergency plan and an emergency kit in place, whether that’s for cyclones, floods, severe storms, bushfires or heatwaves,” Ms Trad said.

RACQ Chief Executive Paul Turner says Queenslanders need to be safety conscious with both their homes and behaviour, ahead of storm season.

“Queensland summer storms generally come and go quickly, but their effects can last for years. So people need to be across safety advice and take it seriously,” Mr Turner said.