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 3rd February 2020. WA TROPICAL UPDATE “HSC TROPICAL CYCLONE WATCH ISSUED FOR WA”: A tropical low is currently located along the NT / WA border. It is forecast by global data to confidently to track west and enter the Indian Ocean just North of Broome by late on Wednesday. Due to the system then being located over water in a much more favourable environment, there is a HIGH RISK it will intensify further into a tropical cyclone. During Thursday and Friday the system is also confidently forecast to track in a general Southerly direction towards the WA coast. Intensity, exact late track along with a coastal crossing location if at all remains very uncertain at this time. Detailed HSC in-house tropical low & tropical cyclone forecasts and track maps will be issued for this system on our website here > https://higginsstormchasing.com/higgins-storm-chasing-membership/
Issued 3rd February 2020. QLD TROPICAL UPDATE: Over the past several days we have seen numerous global model data sets suggesting that a cyclone could develop in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Coral Sea. Some of them also have direct impacts on QLD & Northern NSW however at this stage there is NO forecast confidence being maintained. There is however a HIGH RISK of tropical development during February so we are very closely monitoring global forecast data and live observations. Detailed HSC in-house tropical low & tropical cyclone forecasts and track maps will be issued when required on our website here > https://higginsstormchasing.com/higgins-storm-chasing-membership/
Issued 7th January 2020. We are fielding an increased volume of questions ATM and rightly so. We are also starting to see some big shifts forecast in the weather patterns! I’ll make it as short n sweet as possible…. Above image next 5 day rainfall forecast from 7th-12th of January 2020 via Windy.com
The most important changes that have finally occurred are in the key major climate drivers that influence our rainfall and temperatures.
1: The Indian Ocean Dipole (sea temperatures) have finally come back to normal values. Why is this so important??? Because for the past 6 months it has contributed to a lack of rainfall across large parts of Australia and also a 2 month delay in the monsoon trough developing. Now it’s normal the monsoon trough is developing and more moisture will feed across Australia from the North West.
2: The Southern Annual Mode has finally come back to near normal values (this determines the position of lows and highs across Australia). Why is this so important? Because from October to late December it was deeply negative which pushed low pressure systems much higher up across Southern Australia. Yes it provided cooler temps and some increased rainfall across Tasmania and Victoria BUT it also destroyed moisture across NSW, ACT & QLD due to very hot dry westerly winds. It WAS a major influence on the bushfires across VIC & NSW generating the very hot dry conditions with periods of very strong winds. Now it’s normal more high pressure systems can develop in the Tasman Sea / Southern Coral Sea and feed moisture in from the easterly winds into surface troughs over NSW, ACT & QLD.
3: The ENSO (El Niño / La Niña) is neutral and has been for for many months and is forecast to stay that way through 2020.
4: The monsoon trough is 2 months late across Northern Australia but it’s finally developing now across Indonesia and PNG. It is likely to also keep developing across Northern WA and Northern NT in the next week. There are signals indicating it will develop also across Northern QLD during the second half of January.
5: The MJO ( Madden / Julian Oscillation) is a tropical pulse that moves west to east along the equator and nearby tropics on about a 30-40 day cycle. It greatly increases the monsoon trough and tropical activity such as lows and cyclones. The MJO is currently located over the Maritime Contentment and is forecast to strengthen significantly 7 days and move slowly East. It will greatly influence tropical development across Northern WA and Northern NT during this time. In the 7-14day outlook it does make it into the Western Pacific which increases tropical development chances across Northern QLD the Gulf and Coral Sea. But models do suggest it will weaken a bit when it does.
So let’s have a look at the next 5 day forecast with a quick look into the 5-10 day forecast range.
The current position of the monsoon trough is circled in yellow. It’s still just north of Australia but with the aid of the MJO has and will continue to develop tropical lows and possible cyclones across WA & NT. White circled area is EX TC Blake tracking South across inland WA bringing good rain and storms. Green is the current tropical low which could become a cyclone in the next few days. It’s forecast to track West / South West and produce rain and storms Northern NT and Northern WA. The blue circled area is a cold front which should bring light falls across Southern SA, VIC and TAS.
The black circle is a trough producing showers and storms through SEQLD & Eastern NSW. The Brown arrows are an onshore wind flow causing showers and storms across Northern QLD from about Mackay to Mt Isa North. Ok that’s the next 5 days.
Here is the 5-10 outlook: There are very good signs in Model data that scattered showers and storms will increase across most of NSW and QLD due to a surface trough. Showers and storms will continue across Northern QLD, Northern NT and WA thanks to the MJO and developing Monsoon Trough.
So as you can see now that the major climate drivers are all back to normal and the weather patterns are starting to slowly respond with increased tropical activity, showers and storms.
Tropical lows and cyclones have a significantly higher risk of developing from now until the end of April. It will probably take one or two to cross the coast and track inland then South to start to break the drought properly – hopefully just not a repeat of the NQLD floods like last year if they do.
As always we have our very own in-house detailed forecasts and maps available to subscribers on our website. They cover the entire Australian region for tropical lows and cyclones. Daily, weekly, monthly and 3 monthly rain, storm and temperature forecasts and maps across QLD, NSW, ACT & VIC. Weekly rainfall and forecasts for TAS, SA, WA & NT.
Check it out here by clicking here!
Issued 21st December 2019. All that many people would love for Christmas this year is some rain! Well well well, for the South East quarter of Queensland and North East quarter of New South Wales that is exactly what is forecast! There is one down side to the forecast and that is SEVERE storms and some DANGEROUS storms are also very likely to occur. Above image is the next 5 day rainfall via Windy.com with storm forecast areas highlighted. Monday = Yellow, Tuesday = Red, Wednesday / Christmas Day = Pink.
Highly detailed and accurate Higgins Storm Chasing Thunderstorm risk maps, Rainfall maps and Temperature forecasts are available here for SEQLD & NENSW!
Lets have a quick look at each day as it stands now on the forecast data!
SUNDAY a few showers & storms are possible across the NENSW ranges.
MONDAY scattered showers and storms are likely during the afternoon across NENSW. Some of these storms may also come across the QLD / NSW border and or develop late across far Southern areas of QLD. Some storms maybe SEVERE with Heavy Rain, Damaging winds and Large Hail especially inland away from the coast.
TUESDAY XMAS EVE: Scattered showers and storms are expected to develop across NENSW first earlier in the day and continue into the afternoon. Showers and storms are also expected to develop during the afternoon across inland areas of SEQLD. A surface low pressure system is forecast to develop across Southern inland QLD on the Darling Downs during Tuesday night. This feature is likely to cause areas of rain, showers and storms during Tuesday night into Wednesday morning across far South East QLD and far North East NSW. Some storms are very likely to be SEVERE during Tuesday afternoon and night. Heavy rain, Large Hail and Damaging Winds a moderate to high risk especially inland during the afternoon. Heavy Rain is a moderate risk during Tuesday night.
WEDNESDAY XMAS DAY: Due to the current forecast position of the surface low over Southern inland QLD in the morning its very possible that the day starts off with areas of rain, showers and isolated storms across SEQLD & NENSW. As the day progresses the surface low is forecast to move East to the coast and could develop a coastal trough as well. This system is expected to produce scattered showers and storms across NENSW and SEQLD before extending some storm activity up into Central East QLD late in the afternoon and evening. Due to faverable atmospheric conditions with very high moisture, high instability and strong winds, some SEVERE and possibly DANGEROUS storms are expected in SEQLD.
Highly detailed and accurate Higgins Storm Chasing Thunderstorm risk maps, Rainfall maps and Temperature forecasts are available here for SEQLD & NENSW!
Issued Sunday 24 November 2019. Invest 90P has been upgraded to a Tropical Cyclone by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre today. Fiji met service will be responsible for naming the system later today or tonight. TC One is currently located 800kms north of Port Vila Vanuatu and is tracking towards the South. Current intensity is 80kms hr with gusts to 100kms hr. Above image via BOM.
The system is in a favourable environment for further intensification during Sunday night until Tuesday where it is expected to reach a category 2 system. During this time it is forecast to track towards the South – South East with a likely track to the East of Vanuatu as this time. Squally showers and thunderstorms with wind gusts to 70km hr are possible across the Vanuatu Island group during the next 3 days provided the system maintains its forecast track. During Wednesday global models indicate the system will encounter strong Vertical Wind Shear and drier mid level humidity thus rapidly weakening it below TC strength.
It will not affect Queensland’s weather in any way. The South Pacific Convergence Zone lies from PNG to Fiji and will be closely monitored for Tropical Cyclone development this season. Systems that form in this region can pose a significant threat to Queensland if they track South and West similar to previous seasons. Higgins Storm Chasing provides in-house Tropical Low and Cyclone forecasts and track maps for Queensland through our Premium Membership Subscription HERE! Below image via JTWC.
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!