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.
***CLIMATE ALERT*** Issued 15th Sept 2020
The STRONGEST La Nina since 2010/11 is now forecast by a majority of global model data sets. We could very well see a moderate strength -1.5C La Nina develop by December. This is increasing the odds even higher now for above average rain, floods, storms and cyclones this season. Long range rainfall and cyclone outlooks are available on our website here > https://higginsstormchasing.com/higgins-storm-chasing-membership/
Issued 12th September 2020. The Climate Prediction Centre and Japan Meteorological Agency have both declared a La Nina weather pattern is current which is likely to continue through into the Southern Hemisphere Summer. This confirmation from two of the worlds leading forecast agencies fully supports both our lead up and current Higgins long range forecasts. A moderate strength La Nina is now also becoming possible as global models forecast further cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean during the next 3 months. Above image: JAMSTEC
What does La Nina “often” mean for Australia???
Above average rainfall across Northern, Central and Eastern Australia.
An increased risk of flooding, more frequent storms with more severe storms.
A higher number of cyclones and tropical lows. In fact today we have just completed our cyclone outlook revision for Australia for to 2020/21 season. We have forecast a total of 15 cyclones with 8 being severe (cat 3+) and 25 tropical lows. Our full cyclone outlook details and maps for Eastern (QLD), Northern (NT) and Western (WA) will be issued on our subscription weather service within the next 5 days.
To gain access to our cyclone outlook, cyclone and tropical low track maps become a HSC subscriber here!
Issued 25th August 2020. The Nino 3.4 region has recorded -0.8C below average sea surface temperatures on the 24th of August 2020. This is now at the official Australian threshold for La Nina. Low level 850-hpa Easterly trade winds are stronger than normal across the Western Pacific which is supportive of a developing La Nina. Suppressed convection and precipitation has been observed across the Western Pacific which is also supportive of a developing La Nina. The Southern Oscillation Index has remained positive. Above image via CPC NCEP NOAA
A majority of global forecast models including BOMs ACCESS S1 already suggest that a La Nina weather pattern is VERY LIKELY during the rest of 2020 possibly into early 2021. Below image via CPC NCEP NOAA
To officially be declared a La Nina, the -0.8C SST in the Nino 3.4 region will have to be at least maintained or cooler for a number of weeks along with all the other supportive atmospheric anomalies. La Nina weather patterns often bring increased Tropical Lows and Cyclones, increased rainfall and storms with a higher risk of flooding across large parts of Australia. Interesting times ahead with high hopes for good rainfall across Northern and Eastern Australia over the next 6 months! Below image: La Nina example from BOM
Long range 1 month and 3 month rainfall and temperature maps including a cyclone season outlook and map is available through our Higgins Storm Chasing weather subscription service HERE! Become a HSC premium member today and you will know what weather to expect…
Issued 14th August 2020. A developing weak La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean is expected to greatly influence Australia’s weather this year! Large parts of Northern and Eastern Australia could see above average rainfall, while Queensland and the Northern Territory will have to watch for a higher number of cyclones. A big storm season is also tipped across NSW and QLD. Above image via JAMSTEC
The latest global model data has just been updated and it’s indicating a weak La Nina weather pattern will develop in September. Even if the sea surface temperatures fall just short of the BOM’s -0.8C La Nina threshold, a huge area of cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean has already developed anyway. This will now be the primary climate driver across the South Pacific where it will significantly increase the moisture feed across Northern and Eastern Australia during the next 6 months.
High pressure systems are forecast to be further East near New Zealand feeding huge amounts of moisture across the Tasman and Coral Sea deep into surface troughs across QLD, NSW the ACT and VIC. These troughs will generate showers, rain areas and thunderstorms with many storms being SEVERE containing Heavy Rainfall, Flash Flooding, Large Hail and Damaging Winds. They troughs are likely to be quasi stationary moving East to the coast on occasions then redeveloping inland shortly after.
Increased North West monsoon winds coupled with more frequent MJO positive phases and a stronger monsoon trough are also likely across Northern Australia and Northern QLD. This should bring increased widespread rainfall and storms with higher chances of tropical low and tropical cyclone development both in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Arafura Sea and Timor Sea. Tropical systems in these areas can often travel through Central Australia bringing widespread rain and flooding.
Due to the increasing the Easterly trade winds across the Central and Western Pacific, the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) in the Coral Sea and Solomon Sea is expected to be much more stronger and active tis season. Tropical Lows and Cyclones will have a much higher risk of development in these areas which could easily track West and South West posing a significant risk to Queensland, not just once but multiple times.
We will be working very hard with forecasts and warnings this year by the looks of things…. Not to mention chasing hard!
Detailed HSC cyclone, rainfall and storm maps are always available in high detail on our website. Subscribe and all your questions will be answered 🙂 > https://higginsstormchasing.com/higgins-storm-chasing-membership/
Over the past month our highly valued and skilled employee Thomas Hinterdorfer from Higgins Storm Chasing has been very working hard behind the scenes to produce our new significantly improved in-house high resolution weather forecast maps for QLD and SEQLD.
The 4 new maps have taken many many hours to develop starting right back at the base layer where we have left no stone unturned. During the next week we will be releasing these new QLD & SEQLD maps for the 0-5 day daily rainfall and thunderstorm forecasts to existing premium members on our website at no extra charge. This upgrade will be closely followed by the new 7 day rainfall and temperature forecast maps, 1 month and 3 month rainfall and temperature outlook maps.
We believe our new map products will lead the way in weather forecasting for high detail, fantastic clarity and very good accuracy to all users for many years to come. Everyday of the year, each Higgins forecast and map is human produced by either Jeff Higgins or Thomas Hinterdorfer using vast amounts of raw global model data. Our forecasts do not come from BOM or one data source nor are they computer generated like a majority of other weather forecasts that are currently available.
Our NSW, ACT and VIC state maps as well as the North Eastern NSW zoomed forecast maps will also receive the same full upgrades within the next few months.
An upgraded Tropical Cyclone and Tropical Low forecast track map will also be developed by November ready for this cyclone season.
If you want to know the weather is doing everyday and be able to be fully prepared for the storm and cyclone season ahead, consider becoming a Higgins Premium Member HERE!
Thunderstorm forecast risk maps (above image and below image) have been redeveloped from the base layer up. Upgraded 4 tier thunderstorm forecast risk legend with a new layout and new wording for what each colour shade represents. Increased colour opacity. Additional town locations with improved text.
Rainfall forecast maps (below images) have been redeveloped from the base layer up. Upgraded rainfall legend with a completely new colour spectrum to display lower to higher rainfall amounts that are more discernible from each other. We have also introduced new rainfall forecast tiers of 200-300mm, 300mm+, 0-5mm and 5-10mm. This will account for the monsoon season or any tropical cyclone or low pressure developments where excessive rainfall often occurs in a 24 hour period. It will also help with determining whether or not a few drops of rain or 10mm is possible as the old scale was 0-10mm and we deemed this to be too large of a gap. Additional town locations with improved text.
Upgrades to all 4 thunderstorm and rainfall maps – Expansion of both the QLD thunderstorm and rainfall map coverage are to include more of the Northern Territory and more of New South Wales. Similar expansion into North East NSW on the South East QLD zoomed map. These changes are for the benefit of covering forecast grey areas which are close to the respective regional borders as well as a new merging feature that we are implementing where all maps used across the website will be of the same size.
Additional town locations with a feature to allow us to add more names where we see fit and also control the size and spread of the names. There are currently between 58 and 63 town names on the state map & 73 town names on the South East QLD map. Reduced the number of town names over South Eastern QLD on the QLD state map to reduce the name clutter in the area. While this is a reduction on the state map, MORE town locations have been introduced on the South East QLD zoom map to counter this. Altered the settings on map layers so that the town names are now on top instead of being masked behind the colour shading. This allows us to use deeper colours without hindering the visibility of locations.
Added the naming of the Gulf of Carpentaria and Coral Sea for geographical purposes on the state map. Reduced the overall size of the maps which will allow us more room for using them in emails and will also allow us to post them on the website at a higher quality. Removal of all weather trend icons (sun, shower, rain, storm, snow) on the new maps. Originally we had no change for this but after further discussions behind the scenes we believe the maps and much clearer without the icons and they were redundant.
Changed the South East QLD detailed map box to exactly the same size as the South East QLD zoom forecast maps. Removal of all old weather icons (sun, shower, rain, storm, snow) on maps. Originally we had no change for this but after further discussions behind the scenes we believe the icons were becoming redundant due to written text forecasts.
Issued on 16th July 2020. Queensland is facing an increased forecast risk of cyclone activity, along with higher chances of rainfall and storms during the 2020/21 wet season. Generally most of Northern and Eastern Australia is in line to receive much better rainfall than the last few years. This current forecast outlook is based off confidence for a developing La Nina like weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean for the rest of this year. Above image via JAMSTEC
Now that we are through the Winter barrier, long range global data is much more reliable. This latest global data has just been updated during the past 24 hours and it’s indicating strong potential for a weak La Nina weather pattern to develop. Even if the ENSO falls just short of the offical -0.8C La Nina threshold, cooler than neutral sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected. This will become the primary climate driver from September onwards where it should significantly increase the moisture feed across Northern and Eastern Australia. Below image via CPC
High pressure systems are forecast to be further East near New Zealand feeding moisture into inland surface troughs across QLD and NSW. These troughs will generate showers rain areas and thunderstorms with many storms being SEVERE containing Heavy Rainfall, Flash Flooding, Large Hail and Damaging Winds. They troughs are likely to be quasi stationary moving East to the coast on occasions then redeveloping inland shortly after.
Increased North West monsoon winds with more frequent MJO positive phases are also likely across Northern Australia bringing widespread rain and storms with higher chances of cyclone development and flooding.
Due to the weak La Nina increasing the Easterly trade winds across the Central and Western Pacific, the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) in the Coral Sea is expected to be much more active. Tropical Cyclones will have a higher risk of developing in the Coral Sea then depending on exact synoptic patterns and steering ridges at that time, they could easily track West and South West to impact Queensland. Below image via JAMSTEC
Based off current global model data outputs, I believe we are in for a very active wet, storm and cyclone season during 2020/21. There will be some people who miss out but overall the rainfall prospects are a hell of a lot better than the past few years. The downside? Damage is also expected from storms, floods and cyclones. Any year can be a category 5 year so be prepared by becoming a Higgins Storm Chasing premium member. Detailed cyclone, rainfall and storm maps are always available in high detail on our website here > https://higginsstormchasing.com/higgins-storm-chasing-membership/
Issued 12th June 2020. While the Indian Ocean does a positive backflip reducing the chance of rain across Australia, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has already cooled and is forecast to remain cooler than normal for the next 6 to 9 months. Its the first time in 3 years this has happened and it could be the Australia’s rainfall saviour for the rest of 2020 and even into 2021. Above image: Sea surface temperature anomalies for June to August via JAMSTEC.
The Pacific Ocean ENSO between Australia and America is where the El Nino (warm water = dry) and La Nina (cool water = wet) climate driver develops. In 2010/11 a strong La Nina caused severe flooding across QLD, NSW and Victoria, sense then we have seen one of the strongest El Nino’s in 2015. Over the past 2 years the ENSO has been right on the El Nino temperature threshold but regardless it still delivered a severe blow to the Australian rainfall resulting in one of the worst droughts in living memory. Its a drought we are still in and suffering badly from.
A majority of global models right now are forecasting the cooler than normal Pacific Ocean to continue with NEAR but not quiet reaching the La Nina threshold. It does not matter if it reaches the magic -0.5C or -0.8C La Nina level as model data is already suggesting increased Easterly trade winds across the Coral Sea with more moisture and near average rainfall across most of Australia for the next 6 months. Below image: 3.4 seas surface temp forecast via JAMSTEC.
So stuff the Indian, watch the Pacific and think NEAR AVERAGE, NOT ABOVE AVERAGE rainfall for the rest of 2020. If most places can manage to get near average rainfall instead of the shitty severe drought conditions like last year, I’m sure we will be much happier.
Oh and BTW Higgins Storm Chasing offers long range forecasts for QLD, NSW, the ACT and Victoria. Click here for more details on our website!
Issued 12th June 2020. Forecast data remains confident that rain will come this weekend to Central, Southern and South East QLD. Above image: Rainfall forecast totals via Windy.com
On Saturday a large high in the Tasman Sea will direct a moist onshore wind flow into the Eastern half of the state. Convective afternoon showers, isolated storms and rain areas are expected to develop through Central land Southern districts while persisting overnight. Below image: Saturday rainfall forecast totals via weatherwatch.net.au
During Sunday a cold front will enter Western districts enhancing a surface trough through the Central and Southern interior. Morning showers, rain and isolated storms are expected inland before travelling East to the coast during the afternoon. Below image: Sunday rainfall forecast totals via weatherwatch.net.au
Guidance is suggesting the heaviest falls will be across the South East on Sunday where widespread totals of 20mm are forecast.
Higgins Storm Chasing provides detailed rainfall and thunderstorm maps across QLD with a zoomed map for SEQLD. Click here to check it out on our website!
Issued 11th June 2020. Despite last months chanting across many News Media Outlets and BOM forecasts for a negative Indian Ocean Dipole causing a “Wet Winter” with above average rainfall across large parts of Australia, that has all changed! You see long range global forecast data during April and May are KNOWN to have poor accuracy… Now that has been proven as a completely opposite positive Indian Ocean Dipole develops turning the chances for above average rainfall across the country on their head. Above image: The latest JAMSTEC Indian Ocean sea surface temperature forecast for June – August 2020 showing a positive IOD event developing. Below image: The latest JAMSTEC model ensemble showing a positive IOD forecast from June – September 2020.
It’s worth noting that at this stage the positive IOD is not forecast to be as strong as last years record event. But what does it all mean for Australia???
Right now the chances of 3 month above average rainfall for Winter have diminished right across the country. Model data is still hanging in there with mostly near average rainfall for the next 3 months which would be very welcome and way better than last year. However the Indian Ocean Dipole and Rainfall forecasts will have to be very closely monitored by forecasters over the next month for further significant changes! It is very possible that rainfall totals could be further reduced in the July to September outlook. It is going to be mean more difficult and riskier decisions for farmers and graziers looking make long term plans during such uncertain weather times ahead.
Temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the Northern half of the country and near average across the Southern half. Below image via JAMSTEC.
Higgins Storm Chasing provides independant long range rainfall outlooks for QLD, NSW, the ACT and Victoria. We have updated our maps today to reflect some changes in the latest data. Due to being very conservative and cautious in our original rainfall outlook these changes have only been minor.
Click here to learn more information about our Premium Membership Weather Service!