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20 07, 2017

Australian Astronomer Captures Rare Lightning Phenomenon – WATCH VIDEO

 Published 20th July 2017.
Above image (c) David Finlay. An Australian Astronomer has captured incredible multiple episodes of a very rare lightning phenomenon known as “sprites” from Kiama near Sydney, New South Wales this week. Sprites are electrical discharges emitted into space high above a thunderstorm. They occur above the troposphere between a height of 50-90 km and are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground. Sprites are colored reddish-orange with researchers naming them based off their visual appearance. In the video below David can hardly contain his excitement while capturing over 20 spectacular Carrot Sprites and Jellyfish Sprites along with a few Elves or Halos. You can’t blame either him given the rarity of the phenomenon…  

Published on Jul 19, 2017

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The Night of Sprites. Dozens of bright Sprites (space lightning) witnessed from Kiama Australia on the night of 18th July 2017 by amateur astronomer David Finlay.

20 07, 2017

A Large High Will Dominate QLD For A Week

Issued 20th July 2017.
A large high pressure system will dominate Queensland’s weather for the next week with no rain forecast on the horizon. 

The Winter cold blast from down South which arrived this week will make way for widespread heavy frosts through South East, Southern and Central inland districts on Friday and Saturday morning. The frost will make it as far East as Ipswich and North to Moranbah with Brisbane, Gold and Sunshine Coasts going for their coldest morning this Winter of just 6C on Friday. All locations along the coastal fringe from Mackay South will drop will into the single digit minimum temperatures. Frosts will then contract to Southern inland districts on Sunday and Monday. qldmintemps21stjuly2017

The large high pressure system with very dry Southerly air mass will mean plenty of sunshine on the way right across the state well into next week.


The strong winds which pushed into the state on Wednesday and Thursday will ease during Friday and become most light and variable through the weekend. This will mean perfect conditions for boaties, sporting events and the general outdoors.

Maximum temperatures will progressively warm up during the weekend with 20-24C in Southern districts, 24-28C in Central / North East districts and 28-33C in the North West and Northern inland. Above average temperatures are expected across the state all next week with 24-26C in the South East. People living in Central and Northern parts will be breaking a Winter sweat with 26-31C forecast… Or should I say “what Winter” for them? Just an endless Summer! qldmaxtemps24thjuly2017

The next 2 weeks is looking very dry across the state with only up to 5mm of rainfall possible along the East Coast. Not good news for those who are desperate for rain. This year there is no moisture assistance from either the Indian Ocean nor the Pacific so below average rainfall should be expected well into August which is our driest month of the year. 

18 07, 2017

Chance Of Snow Just 2hrs From QLD On Wednesday

Issued Tuesday 18th July 2017.
The first chance of snow for Winter 2017 is possible on the New South Wales Northern Tablelands during Wednesday! While the Australian Alps have received a heavy snow dumping over night Monday and during Tuesday, the coldest air mass won’t arrive up North until early Wednesday. Above image: % of models forecasting precipitation on Wednesday via BSCH/OCF. 
Subscribe to Higgins Storm Chasing here for detailed snow forecast text & maps!

It’s a 50/50 chance at this stage whether or not snow will fall on the Northern Tablelands however global model data is certainly suggesting there is a good possibility. The mid to low level temperatures are about 2c warmer than we would like to see before locking in definite snow falls and atmospheric moisture is slightly on the dry side. Places for snow fall will be limited to the highest elevations above 1200 meters which puts Guyra and Ben Lomond into contention. 

There is an 85% chance of precipitation at Guyra with 1.5mm forecast, should this fall as snow the conversion is 1:10 ratio so around 1.5cm. A minimum of 1c and a maximum of just 5c is forecast so it is definitely cold enough at the surface for snow. There is some variability in exact timing with the best chances between 4am and 10am possibly extending out to 4pm on Wednesday. 

Snow is highly unlikely further North at Mt Mckenzie near Tenterfield or Stanthorpe due to slightly warmer air and lack of any moisture or precipitation expected. It will however be a very cold day across the Darling Downs and Granite Belt with strong South Westerly winds. Toowoomba and Warwick are going for a top of just 14c while Stanthorpe will struggle to get over 10c. The wind chill factor will take up to 10c off these forecast temperatures so standing outside will have a feels like of less than 5c all day. 

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17 07, 2017

Above Average Temps In QLD Before A Cool Change Wednesday

Issued midday 17th July 2017. Queensland, more specifically the Southern half of Queensland is about to see Summer temporarily return on Tuesday. A North-Westerly breeze is expected to flow through parts of Southern and especially South-Eastern QLD which is expected to produce well above average temperatures across the region. These temperatures, which are likely to reach the mid 20’s for most areas are expected to be around 5-6ºc above average. These kinds of temperatures, especially with a warmer breeze in place, will make it feel more like Summer (even compared to the rest of Winter so far). Above image via BSCH / OCF – forecast maximum temperatures for Tuesday.

In addition to the well above average temperatures, a weak surface trough across South-East QLD may also help trigger some isolated to possibly scattered showers through areas South of Brisbane, Toowoomba and Dalby during the afternoon and evening. There is a good chance of these showers occurring, although they are expected to be hit and miss, and also quite brief and light (resulting in falls generally of less than 5mm). There is also the potential for a few brief storms to develop in amongst the shower activity, however the overall setup is far less favourable than what was experienced on Saturday just gone. Any storms that do develop should only produce locally moderate to heavy brief falls. Areas North of Brisbane, Toowoomba and Dalby and are expected to be left high and dry with next to no shower activity expected

Forecast rainfall, Tuesday afternoon via MeteoEarth

Forecast rainfall, Tuesday afternoon via MeteoEarth


On Wednesday, Winter is expected to return to Southern QLD with a cool change pushing through drawing a South-Westerly wind change behind it. These South-Westerly winds, notorious for producing much cooler conditions are expected to drop temperatures by as much as 7ºc for most areas and up to 10ºc in Northern NSW. The temperatures expected on Wednesday are likely to be below average for most areas South of Longreach to Bundaberg for this time of year and especially over the Darling Downs and Granite Belt where places like Dalby and Miles could see temperatures of 2-3ºc below average and Stanthorpe up to 4ºc below average. Despite the colder temperatures, conditions are far too dry for snow to occur. There is the chance of some light frost over the Southern Downs and Granite Belt on Wednesday morning also.

Forecast Maximum Temperatures via BSCH / OCF for Wednesday July 19th

Forecast Maximum Temperatures via BSCH / OCF for Wednesday July 19th



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12 07, 2017

New Zealand Big Winter Storm – Heavy Snow, Rain, Wind & Waves

Posted 12th July 2017. New Zealand is in the grips of a high impact severe Winter storm with high amounts of snow to half a meter, heavy rain to 150mm, storms with hail, gales up to 140km/hr and 7m huge waves still yet to come! The next 3 days is going to wild across many parts of NZ as a deep low cranks up just to the East of the North Island on Wednesday before tracking North – North West on Thursday and Friday. This low is also dragging up very cold polar air from Antarctica already producing snow to sea level in the South with snow expected down to 500m in the North. The weather system has prompted the closure of a number of roads due to black ice and snow. Live photos can be found here! The following Severe Weather Warnings have been sourced via NZ Met Service @ 9:51 am 12th July 2017.


HEAVY SNOW WARNING – AREA/S AFFECTED – Inland mid and north Canterbury and the Kaikoura District

FORECAST – Further snow expected through today and early tomorrow, easing late Thursday afternoon. In the 33 hours from 9am today to 6pm Thursday, expect 20 to 30 cm of snow above 400 metres with 10cm likely down to 200 metres. Note higher parts of Kaikoura District above 500 metres may get up to 50 cm of snow. FREEZING LEVEL: About 500 metres.

AREA/S AFFECTED – Central North Island High Country, including the ranges of Hawkes Bay and Manawatu

FORECAST – Heavy snow expected above 600 metres from this afternoon through to Thursday afternoon with lesser amounts down to 400 metres. The snow level is forecast to rise to above 800 metres later on Thursday and turn to rain below this level. In the 30 hours from midday today to 6pm Thursday, expect 20 to 30 cm of snow above 600 metres and 10 cm down to 400 metres. Note, higher parts of these regions above 800 metres could see up to 50 cm of snow during this period. FREEZING LEVEL: Lowering to 800 metres this afternoon, rising to 1200 metres Thursday afternoon.


HEAVY RAIN WARNING – AREA/S AFFECTED – Wairarapa including the Tararua District, Wellington, Kapiti and the ranges of Manawatu

FORECAST Heavy rain is expected at times through to early Friday morning, with the heaviest falls during Thursday. In the 24 hours from midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday, expect 100 to 150 mm about the hills and ranges, with 70 to 100 mm about lower lying parts of Wairarapa and Wellington. Note, this precipitation will fall as heavy snow about higher parts of ranges.


STRONG WIND WARNING – AREA/S AFFECTED – Wellington, Kapiti and Marlborough Sounds

FORECAST – Southerly gales are expected to become severe this afternoon and evening and persist through Thursday before easing early Friday. The strongets winds are expected from Wednesday night through to Thursday afternoon with gusts of 140 km/h or more likely, especially about Wellington.


FORECAST – Southerly gales expected to become severe, with gusts of 120 km/h from Thursday morning until Thursday night.


Large waves up to 7 meters are also expected through Cook Strait and along Southern and Eastern coastal regions. These conditions may lead to some localized low lying coastal inundation especially around Wellington. 


The 9am ferry from Picton to Wellington braved the huge seas across Cook Strait at 9am on Wednesday morning. Everyone traveling on the ferry were sitting on the floor or laying down in toilets with vomit bags. Cutlery and glass were breaking inside with a ceiling panel coming loose. Sailings have now been cancelled until Friday. Image Credit: MONIQUE FORD/STUFF


8 07, 2017

Mid Winter Flood Watch For Parts Of Central Australia

Issued Saturday 7th July 2017. A mid Winter drenching is forecast for parts of Central Australia with a flood watch issued in the Northern Territory! Widespread totals of 25 to 50mm with isolated totals of 50 to 100mm are expected to fall during the next 48 hours over Central and South East parts of the Northern Territory. Above image: 4 day rainfall forecast via BOM. 

The Barkly and Simpson Districts are forecast to receive the heavy rainfall which may lead to flooding causing road closures. Due to these remote areas being flood prone, communities may become isolated this week until water recedes and the dirt roads dry out.  The heaviest rain is also forecast to fall between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek on Sunday. Good rainfall is also expected on and around Jervios Station which is located 300km to the North East of Alice Springs and 350km West of Boulia QLD. Travelers and tourists in these areas need to be very mindful of forecasts and have either an alternate travel plan or wet weather isolation plan if the situation deteriorates. 

Parts of far Western QLD around Boulia, Bedourie and Urandangi may see around 10 to 20mm from the system and while this doesn’t seem much it’s actually up to twice their monthly average for this time of year. 

Jervios Station hasn’t recorded any rainfall in the past 4 months when 28mm fell at the start of February so this rain will certainly be welcomed. Boulia hasn’t recorded any useful rainfall since January so they will be pretty desperate for anything the clouds can offer.  

Subscribe to HSC for detailed rainfall forecasts and maps! 

22 06, 2017

Winter Finally Arriving In Tasmania

Issued 22nd June 2017. After a very warm start to Winter with temperatures up to 5c above average, Tasmania and Hobart are about to finally get decent cold blast! For the past 3 weeks, maximum temperatures in Hobart have averaged 3c above normal but that is about to change as a series of back to back cold fronts move through. Above image showing the first cold air mass to move through Friday and Saturday via Windy. Subscribe to HSC for detailed forecasts and warnings across Australia! 

On Friday morning a front will sweep across the state with strong North West winds. By the afternoon scattered showers are expected through most districts as winds turn cold South Westerly. The low to mid level polar air arrives during Friday night into Saturday with snow falls down to a low 400m. On Saturday Hobart is expecting a top temp of 11c which is 1c below average for this time of year.  

Another fresh burst of South West winds and cold air is expected later on Sunday again with scattered showers mainly through the Western half. Snow will again fall above 700m. 

Over the next 4 days the Western half is forecast to receive 25 to 50mm of rain while the Eastern half will see much less with up to 10mm. 

Total snowfall during the next 6 days could see up to 20cm on the Central Highlands while Mt Wellington should see a 5cm white covering above 600m. Hobart’s maximum temperature will stay down around the June average of 12c well into next week. Below image via Windy. 


20 06, 2017

London and UK Severe Heatwave

Issued 20th June 2017. London and the Southern half of the United Kingdom are in the midst of a 5 day severe heatwave! The mercury is set to peak in the UK capital on Tuesday at 31c, then even higher on Wednesday at 33c which is whopping 13c above average for this time of year. This comes after 3 consecutive days of between 29 and 32.5c. To give you an Australian comparison, the Brisbane City average maximum temperature in Summer is 29c so this would feel like a 42c day here! Remember its all about what your body is acclimatised to… An Eskimo lives a normal life in temperatures down to -50 where other people wouldn’t even be able to function. The same can be said for heat. 

A slow moving high pressure system over Northern UK has resulted in a very hot airmass from France and Germany being pushed North West across the English Channel. High humidity levels combined with the high temperatures will push the “feels like” temperature as high as 36c on Tuesday and Wednesday. Public Health England issued the amber heat alert until Wednesday, one tier below level four, a “national emergency”. Despite the warnings most people have gone outdoors to soak up the hot sun at parks, beaches and festivals! 

Some relief from the high heat will come on Thursday but it will be still hot and sticky in London with 26c expected. Fresh cooler Westerlies will eventually push across UK with the trough also likely to produce scattered showers and thunderstorms. From Friday onwards temperatures will be back to near normal with 14c in the North and 22c in the South. 

bournemouthnewsjune20171000’s of people flock to Bournemouth Beach in Southern England for a cool dip in the English Channel. 

Large parts of Ireland are also experiencing very warm temperatures up to 26c this week! Liz Walsh, forecaster for Met Éireann, says if the weather stays above 25C for another two days then it can be classed as an official heatwave for Ireland.

The World Meteorological Organization definition of a heatwave which is “when the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 5 °C, the normal period being 1961-1990”. 

20 06, 2017

Perth & Southern WA – Rain, Strong Winds, & Storms

Issued 20th June 2017. Perth and parts of Southern Western Australia will see showers, rain areas, isolated storms and strong winds this week as a low pressure system develops and crosses the coast! This low will also push a surface trough towards the East across the Southern inland generating a band of scattered showers, storms and rain areas. Over the past 3 months the entire South West quarter of the state has recorded very much below average rainfall. While this system brings some promise falls will still be patchy through inland areas with the better totals forecast along the coast. Above image the low and trough forecast positions and movements on Wednesday via Windy. 

CURRENT SITUATION: At 11am Tuesday a low pressure system is developing about 200km West of Perth. Rain has already begun overnight along the Southern Coast with Cape Leeuwin, Black Cat Flat and Tamar all picking up 45mm. 
swwa4dayrainfall20thjune2017bomAbove image: 4 day rainfall forecast via BOM. 15 to 25mm along the West Coast, 25 to 50mm in the South West, 10 to 15mm through the Southern interior and Coast with lighter falls through the remaining inland. 

FORECAST TUESDAY: The low is expected to remain slow moving offshore while a weak surface trough crosses the Lower West Coast & Perth this evening. Scattered showers, rain areas and isolated storms from about Bunbury to Albany. Moderate falls up to 50mm possible along the far South West Coast. Isolated showers and storms possibly developing from Bunbury north to Jurien Bay.

FORECAST WEDNESDAY: The low pressure system is forecast to intensify during the day before crossing the South West Coast during the evening. A surface trough will move East through South West inland parts of the state. Scattered showers, rain areas, isolated storms and strong winds from Perth south to Augusta. Isolated showers possible West of Hopetoun to Denaham Bay. 

FORECAST THURSDAY: The low continues to move slowly East through the South West inland while a surface trough amplifies through the interior. Scattered showers, rain areas and strong winds West from Hopetoun to Dunham Bay with moderate falls possible near the lows center through the South West inland. A band of scattered showers, rain and isolated storms from Meekatharra, Kalgoorlie to Israelite Bay with some moderate falls possible. 

FORECAST FRIDAY: The low weakens over the South West inland as onshore winds increase from the South East along the South Coast. The inland trough continues to move slowly East. Scattered showers west of a line from Denham Bay to Esperance. A band of scattered showers and rain areas moving East across the Southern Interior and Eucla District.

A mostly fine weekend is forecast due to a high pressure system building to the South.  

Subscribe to Higgins Storm Chasing for detailed forecasts and alerts right across Australia HERE! 

15 06, 2017

SEQLD Coast & Northern Rivers NSW Cop A June Drenching

Posted at 11am 15th June 2017. Parts of Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Northern Rivers of NSW have received a June drenching with up to 300mm in some locations. Widespread falls of 100 to 200mm have been recorded this week with isolated totals of 200 to 300mm. Above image 7 day rainfall totals to 14th June 2017 via BOM. 

It all came from two low pressures systems which formed over the weekend. A cold cored upper low tracked North through inland NSW then East across Southern QLD. This upper low induced a surface low just off the SEQLD coast which produced very strong South East winds and heavy rain. 

Our HSC forecasts suggested 100 to 200mm was possible from the Sunshine Coast south to Yamba (mainly from Brisbane south) along with winds of 50 to 70km hr and gusts to 90kmm hr. The heavy rainfall forecast from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast was always very dependent on the “exact” location of the surface low once it developed… Subscribe here for HSC rainfall and storms forecast maps across SEQLD & NENSW! 

So how did it pan out?
The Northern Rivers received up to 295mm at Yamba, 280mm at Lismore, 265mm at Ballina, 223mm at Casino with widespread falls of 100 to 200mm across the district. Cape Byron recorded wind gusts up to 89km hr. This caused some rivers rises and flash flooding. 

Across the Gold Coast region Upper Springbrook picked up 323mm, Clearview 190mm, Molendinar 186mm, Pacific Pines 160mm and the Gold Coast Seaway 123mm. Widespread falls of 100 to 200mm were recorded across the Gold Coast without causing any issues.

Further north Brisbane city recorded 79mm though many other suburbs around the CBD got almost double this. Brighton and Deception Bay 150mm, Mt Cotton 134mm, Caboolture 119mm. The Sunshine Coast picked up general falls of 25 to 50mm with a few isolated falls of 50 to 100mm.
On the islands Point Lookout recorded 224mm and South Stradbroke 177mm.

Wind gusts of 87km hr were recorded at Cape Moreton, 80km hr at Double Island Point, 87km hr on the Gold Coast, with widespread wind gusts between 45 and 65km hr across the South East.

On Monday and Tuesday the very heavy falls of over 200mm remained just 50km offshore from Brisbane due to a convergence on the Southern side of the low. Had the low been positioned slightly further West and North by 100km this very heavy rain would have impacted both Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast leading to flash flooding. These types systems have a very definitive point of location where rainfall of over 200mm in 24hrs can occur and a majority of the time its on the Southern side. Occasionally we also see very heavy stationary rain areas develop on the near Western side however the two lows didn’t quiet line up perfectly for this to occur over land…

Global models GFS and EC produced very accurate forecast positions for the lows. Ensemble rainfall forecast model data from BOM PME and OCF also offered reasonable confidence given the final outcome. Below images 24hr doppler radar rainfall totals on Monday and Tuesday showing over 200mm just East of Brisbane via BOM.