About Jeff HigginsI have had a passion for weather since I was 8 years old. In 2011 I created Higgins Storm Chasing on Facebook which has now grown into a successful meteorology business.
Issued 22nd November 2019. The first Tropical Cyclone of the 2019-20 season could develop in the South West Pacific during the next 3 – 5 days. A low pressure system (Invest 90p) is currently located to the East of the Solomon Islands surrounded by a large area of disorganised convection. During Saturday and Sunday global models indicate the low pressure system is expected to enter a favourable environment for intensification with low vertical wind shear, warm 30C seas surface temperatures and high humidity levels. 90p is forecast to track East initially before a subtropical ridge builds to the East and steers the system towards the South on Sunday and Monday.
The ECWMF models suggests rapid intensification during Tuesday due to a highly favourable environment with maximum winds of 245km hr and a central pressure of 955hpa. At this stage ECMWF positions the potential severe cyclone of category 3 or 4 strength to be located just the the North of the Vanuatu Islands on Tuesday before rapid weakening on Wednesday over Vanuatu.
The GFS model is much more modest with intensification on Monday up to 120km hr winds and 995hpa before weakening and crossing the Vanautu Islands on Tuesday.
The track of the system towards the South is reasonably confident at the stage. Due to vast intensity forecasts, confidence of a Tropical Low development is High, a weak Tropical Cyclone of category 1 -2 strength is moderate and a severe category 3+ system is low. Interests throughout the Vanuatu group should closely monitor the system for further updates during the weekend. These types of tropical systems in the South West Pacific have been known to rapidly intensify in the past providing very little warning and preparation lead time. Above image via windy.com shows the current position marked with X, the likely track in red and track possibilities in yellow. The below image is the GEPS ensemble track and pressure for 90p via Tropical Tidbits.
Published Date: 10 Nov 2019 from NSW Rural Fire Service
Tuesday will be a dangerous day.
Based on the latest forecast, there is likely to be widespread Severe and Extreme fire danger. This is expected to stretch from the Queensland border to the south coast, and across the Central West.
There is already extensive fire activity across the north coast and northern NSW areas. These fires won’t be contained in time.
Under these conditions, these fires will spread quickly and will threaten homes and lives.
These conditions will be as bad, if not worse, than those experienced on Friday as they will be across a much broader area including large population centres like Sydney.
There are significant resources committed to fires and they are limited.
If you are threatened by fire, you may not get help.
Monitor conditions over the next few days. Use the time now to get ready.
Stay up to date on bush fires in your area and take responsibility for your own safety.
Issued 9th November 2019 from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
A State of Fire Emergency has been declared across 42 Local Government Areas in Queensland, following a period of significantly heightened fire weather conditions expected to continue into next week.
The State of Fire Emergency prohibits the lighting of all types of outdoor fires, and bans certain activities that can cause fires to ignite.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said fire crews were battling multiple blazes and all possible steps had to be taken to prevent further fires igniting.
“We’re experiencing tinder box-like conditions across much of the state and all it takes is one spark to start a fire that may burn for days,” Mr Wassing said.
“This declaration is vital to prevent bushfires breaking out and posing a danger to lives and property.”
Mr Wassing said the declaration overrode all existing permits to light fire and banned fireworks and the lighting of any outdoor cooking fires.
“The declaration also prohibits welding, grinding and the use of oxy acetylene cutting or heating outdoors,” he said.
“The use of the machinery and power tools in open areas has the potential to exacerbate the bushfire risk, which is why it is essential people do not use these tools outdoors.
“The declaration also gives QFES the authority to draw on private resources, such as plant and equipment, to assist in firefighting or preparation.”
Mr Wassing said substantial penalties could be issued to those who breached the declaration.
“The penalties for contravening this declaration are serious – a fine of up to $3,336 or two years imprisonment,” he said.
“Our crews are doing a fantastic job protecting lives and property, and we ask that Queenslanders continue to do their part to prevent fires starting and spreading.”
Mr Wassing urged Queenslanders to remain vigilant and continue to follow the advice of authorities.
“Everyone should have a bushfire survival plan and know what they are going to do if a fire approaches,” he said.
“People need to keep up-to-date on the QFES website and social media channels, and tune into local radio.
“It is important they follow the advice given and don’t leave it too late to evacuate if they need to.
“Bushfire prevention is a community effort, so it is essential people report fires and to Triple Zero (000) immediately.”
The declaration will be in effect until revoked.
Local Government Areas included in State of Fire Emergency:
|QFES Region:||LGAs Included:||LGAs Not Included:|
Issued 29th Oct 19. It has been a very long time waiting for any decent rainfall across Central West & South West Queensland districts. Many locations have not had any more than 10mm in total over the past 5 to 7 months. Given the high confidence of forecast data and modelling that is all about to change over the next 3 days. Some places could see 50 – 100mm fall especially under storms though more widespread falls of 20-50mm are more likely! If we don’t see a number of paddocks covered in water during this system we will be disappointed. Above image: 3 day ECMWF rainfall forecast totals from weatherzone.com.au
An upper level trough is developing across Western QLD during Tuesday causing light patchy rain areas to start with. This upper level feature is dragging in high amounts of moisture from the North West or the Tropics. A low pressure system is expected to develop from Tuesday afternoon over the South West of the state. This low will draw in high amounts of moisture off the Pacific Ocean into Central West and South West QLD. These 2 combinations will lead to increased showers, rain areas and isolated storms across the Central West, western Warrego and Maranoa and eastern Channel Country districts during Tuesday afternoon and night. 24 hr totals of 10-25mm are forecast with locally higher falls possible.
On Wednesday the entire system remains in place across Central West / South West QLD and doesn’t move… Further scattered showers, rain areas and increased storm activity is expected. Some of these storms may become severe and some locally heavy falls are possible. 24 hr totals of 10-20mm are forecast.
During Thursday the overall rain area weakens however thunderstorm activity increases. Some storms are likely to be severe with further heavy falls possible under storms.
Here are some current projected 3 day rainfall totals for towns in the primary forecast area. Longreach 38mm, Barcaldine 42mm, Blackall 55mm, Tambo 30mm, Charleville 35mm, Bollon 20mm, Cunnamulla 20mm, Mitchell 20mm, Thargomindah 15mm, Windorah 20mm, Winton 10mm. The highest rainfall is currently forecast is for Quilpie, Adavale and Yaraka where 50-100mm is possible but any shift with the low and trough would result in less rainfall at these locations and higher amounts nearby. Another area with rainfall potential is Upper Western NSW where 5 – 20mm is possible depending on steering winds pulling activity further South.
As you can see the system is reasonable wide spread across 3 days through Central West and South West QLD. This system has the potential to fill dams and tanks and put a run in local creeks and maybe even rivers. It WILL NOT break the drought but EVERY drop counts during these desperate times.
We have issued our detailed accurate in-house daily rainfall and storm risk maps on our website which is available by clicking HERE!
Issued 25th for Saturday 26th Oct 19. Nasty weather is forecast to impact most of New South Wales on Saturday thanks to a strong cold front. Strong to locally damaging West to South West winds with gusts up to 100km hour will blast across the entire state. This will likely lead to dusty conditions being generated across the Northern half of the state especially inland. Some of this dust may even reach the Central Coast. People in the dust forecast areas need to be mindful by taking necessary precautions during travel, while working outside and also having respiratory medication on hand. Above image: Wind gusts via Windy.com
Very warm maximum temperatures with low humidity levels will also combine with these strong winds across the North East quarter of the state. Very High to Severe fire dangers are expected across many districts but the highest fire risk areas look to be North from Sydney and East from Dubbo to Lightning Ridge. The fire dangers ratings will be issued by NSWRFS late on Friday for Saturday. People in these areas should have a bush fire survival plan in place and be ready for emergency fire warnings to be issued from the NSWRFS. These types of fire conditions are similar to the recent Rappville fire which claimed lives and took many homes. Below image: Maximum temperatures on Saturday.
The strongest winds of 80-100km hour are forecast across the Southern Ranges, the ACT, Southern, Central and Northern Tablelands, Illawarra, South East Coast and Hunter districts. People in these areas should prepare by securing loose items around the home and watch for fallen trees and power lines.
Sadly very little rainfall from showers or storms is expected from the system. There could be some better showers and storms across the state from mid next week but we will have to wait and see what eventuates. In the meantime the situation remains very desperate and critical for rain.
We provide rainfall and storm forecasts and maps across NSW, the ACT and Victoria, this includes our new North East quarter of NSW detailed zoomed maps. Become a Higgins subscriber HERE to gain access to our forecast services.
Issued Tuesday 15th October for Thursday 17th October 2019.
high instability levels are expected to lead to scattered thunderstorms on Thursday afternoon and evening across parts of the South East and Central East QLD. Some storms are expected to be severe with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rainfall are more likely but not limited to the red circled area.
These are the highest instability levels observed so far this storm season and it is a timely reminder to ensure all precautions around the home and at work are carried out. Securing loose items such as trampolines from damaging winds is important to prevent them from becoming deadly projectiles.
A majority of storm damage is caused to cars by large hail. It’s important to note that while travelling to keep up with the latest severe storm warnings. On many occasions avoiding large hail is as simple as pulling over or delaying your travel for 15 minutes outside of a storms core.
Our thunderstorm risk maps for SEQLD & QLD have been issued on our website in the premium member forecast area. Login here! Or subscribe here!
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…
• 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.
• 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.