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Batten down the hatches: four or more cyclones tipped for the summer


The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the coming summer will have fewer bushfires and more flooding and cyclones as the El Nino weather pattern makes way for the La Nina.

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The bureau said it could not predict the severity or number of cyclones but said there were usually four cyclones each year in the Coral Sea and typically one or two would cross the coast. Another two typically occurred in the Gulf of Carpentaria. This year it was likely to be more than that.

This summer was also going to be more humid, with the possibility that day time temperatures would be lower because of the increased cloud cover and night times a bit warmer.

A taste of the summer ahead is likely to hit the southeast tomorrow. The bureau has forecast severe storms with damaging winds, large hail and/or heavy rainfall were likely across inland areas of southeast Queensland from about noon onward tomorrow. They were also possible in the Gulf country.

The bureau said the last La Nina was in 2011 and it led to widespread flooding, particularly in the southeast. The same year Cyclone Yasi also hit Queensland.

However, that La Nina had been going for a lot longer and water catchments were already full. This time around the state has been gripped by drought for several years and dams and water catchments are low.

“So last severe weather season there was a real focus on the bushfires there is a real shift. Even though the bushfires is still going and has affected parts of Queensland it is a lot less severe than last year and we are expecting more flooding and more tropical cyclones,” the bureau’s senior meteorologist Laura Boekel said.

“In terms of severity we don’t go into that detail. This is much more than outlook.

“If we are expecting an above average season, we are likely to see more than four (cyclones) in the Coral Sea.

“We do see more storms with La Nina, but in terms of the severity La Nina does not dictate that.”

Research developed by University of Newcastle suggests up to 15 cyclones could hit Australia, although not all would cross the coast and not all of them would be in Queensland with Western Australia also getting its shares of storms.

“With an emerging La Nina and warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean, 11 tropical cyclones are expected for Australia. There’s a 47 per cent chance of 12 or more cyclones, and a probable range of between nine and 15,” the university’s Andrew Magee said

The university’s modelling suggested a 47 per cent chance of 12 or more tropical cyclones this season although not all will make landfall and not all would be in Queensland.

“The guidance suggests 11 tropical cyclones are expected, with a probable range of between nine and 15 tropical cyclones… and that’s a little bit higher than average which is 10 tropical cyclones.”

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