Higgins Storm Chasing produces in-house high resolution, high accuracy Tropical Low / Tropical Cyclone forecast track and threat maps for all of Australia. Click here for more details… 

Key Points

• A forecast total of 10 cyclones in the Australian region which is near average. 5 of these cyclones being severe category 3 or higher. 5 systems potentially crossing the Australian coastline. 

• Eastern region: Queensland, Coral Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria. A total of 4 cyclones with 2 possibly severe (category 3 or higher). 2 of these systems potentially crossing the Queensland coast.

• Northern region: Northern Territory, Western Gulf of Carpentaria and Arafura Sea. A total of 2 cyclones with 1 possibly severe (category 3 or higher). 1 system potentially crossing the NT or Western Gulf coast.

• Western region: Western Australia, Timor Sea, Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and Indian Ocean. A total of 4 cyclones with 2 possibly severe (category 3 or higher). 2 of these systems potentially crossing the coast. 

• Tropical Lows: Up to 15 tropical lows are also forecast to develop across the Australian region with many of them impacting the mainland. Tropical lows are one of Northern Australia’s biggest rainfall producers during the wet season. Occasionally they also end up tracking further South into Central and Southern Australian regions. They bring widespread heavy rain, flooding and sometimes damaging winds. Its not uncommon for tropical lows to bring rainfall totals of 250-500mm even 1000mm+ just from one system given their slow moving nature and very high moisture levels. 

Forecast Notes
 The current ENSO climate driver in the Central Pacific Ocean is neutral (neither warmer or cooler than average sea surface temperatures).  Sea surface temperatures across the Western Pacific near the equator and also through the South West Pacific Islands is above average and forecast to continue to remain above average during this cyclone season. The Coral Sea waters are near average and forecast to stay near average this season. Given this scenario there is a higher potential for cyclones to develop in the far Northern and Eastern Coral Sea with increased chances of them being severe. Cyclones in these areas often track West to South West towards Queensland.

• The Northern Australian sea surface temperatures in the Gulf , between our mainland PNG and Indonesia are currently near average. These waters are forecast to climb to above average from January-April. Given this scenario there is a higher potential for cyclones to develop across Northern Australia in the new year. 

• A strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole is current and expected to last until January.  This climate driver is currently Australia’s most primary dominant feature. It often brings below average rainfall and above average temperatures to much of Australia. Given this scenario a later than usual wet season start is expected with a delay of northern monsoon trough. The MJO eastward propagation also could be blocked while very limited cyclone development is expected across the Western region during October, November and December. Given the expected breakdown of the positive IOD in January a late season burst of cyclones is increasingly possible for the Western region.

• The Sudden Stratospheric Warming event over the South Pole has occurred and is now cooling quickly again. We do not believe it will have any impact at all on Australia’s climate during the next 6 months.

***Please keep in mind that it only takes 1 severe cyclone to cross the coast causing significant widespread damage! The biggest threats are very heavy rain causing major flooding, sea surge causing coastal inundation and destructive winds causing property and infrastructure damage. All of these weather threats are potentially life threatening! We will provide a high number of cyclone forecasts and updates if required this season. Given the current severe drought across many areas of Australia we need Ex Tropical Cyclones and Tropical Lows to track inland bringing widespread rainfall.*** Forecast map and text strictly not for news media use without express permission ***

Higgins Storm Chasing produces in-house high resolution, high accuracy Tropical Low / Tropical Cyclone forecast track and threat maps for all of Australia. Click here for more details or on the image below…