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27 04, 2018

‘Cooler’ Conditions on the way for SEQLD & NENSW

After consistent temperatures at or above average for quite a while, it looks like areas across South East QLD and North East NSW should see somewhat of an extended reprieve over the next week with maximums at around 2-3ºc below average. Above image: Saturday maximums via BSCH / OCF.

 

It has been a while since those of us across South East QLD have had any real reprieve from the abnormally warm temperatures. In fact Brisbane has seen 21 of 26 (Friday likely to make it 22 of 27) days above average this month. Ipswich is the same while the Gold Coast has seen 23 of 26 days above average whilst being on track for the warmest April minimum average in 25 years. For those over the border it hasn’t been much better… Ballina was above average for the first 21 days of the month.

This should change over the next week though starting this weekend. Its not going to be anything dramatic, but a constant South to South East flow is expected to finally dominate the region enough that some cooler air should be dragged up from down South and start to eat away at the atmosphere. From Saturday onwards, we should see temperatures drop back into the mid 20’s (around 24-25ºc, which is 2-3ºc below average), with temps down into the mid teens over the Northern Tablelands and 19ºc on the Granite Belt. Instead of being a 1 hit wonder like the entire year so far… these temperatures should linger for around a week at least. We could even see some isolated light frost over the Northern Tablelands to start the week with minimums down to around 2-4ºc. 

OCF Forecast Maximums for Wednesday via BSCH

OCF Forecast Maximums for Wednesday via BSCH

 

The onshore flow should also bring with it some further showers which will temporarily drop the temperature as they hit also. Showers should be mostly limited to the Coastline of both SEQLD and NENSW with falls of 15-30mm possible in SEQLD over the next week and 30mm+ over NENSW. Note: This is literally the direct Coastline, those who are about 20km Inland shouldn’t expect much at all. 

Forecast rainfall accumulation via EC / weather.us for the next week

Forecast rainfall accumulation via EC / weather.us for the next week

 

 

25 04, 2018

2017-18 Tropical Cyclone Season Summary & Review

Published 25th April 2018. Well the 2017-18 Tropical Cyclone Season has officially come to an end across the Australian area of responsibility with numbers eventually nearing the expectations set out back in October ahead of the season. Above image Cyclone Marcus at maximum intensity. 

 

 

The prediction issued back in October 2017, was for a near normal number of tropical cyclones across Australian waters during the 2017-18 season, to be precise it was a prediction of 11. For the 2017-18 season we saw 10 tropical cyclones across our waters with the bulk of activity occurring over the Indian Ocean before a late by underwhelming burst occurred in March over the Coral Sea. Overall we had expectations of up to 5 severe tropical cyclone which exceeded the reality of 2 which occurred while a total of 5 landfalls were expected when in reality, 6 occurred.

The Indian Ocean was favoured for the season due to abnormally warmer temperatures along with an active MJO and Monsoon Phase occurring over the region for extensive periods of time. Ridging patterns also favoured any systems in the North moving South West and towards the WA region. There were several low’s trying to spin up over the Coral Sea, but the main hindering factor was increased vertical wind shear which didn’t allow the convection to develop for these low’s to transition into cyclones. The below-expected number of severe cyclones is largely due to where the systems developed. Most systems were developing over the Arafura Sea and near the WA Kimberley Coast which meant land interaction halted the intensification process. 

 

Tropical Cyclone map of Season 2017-18 for Australian waters via Wikipedia

Tropical Cyclone map of Season 2017-18 for Australian waters via Wikipedia

 

So how did the season pan out?

It was an early burst of activity which got the season going as 2 tropical cyclones (Cempaka and Dahlia) developed near Indonesia and ventured “just” into our waters. The 2 systems failed to become much as they intertwined with each other and left Dahlia as the dominant system. There was a lull then until just after Christmas when Cyclone Hilda developed into a Category 2 system and made landfall South of Broome at Anna Plains on December 28. The New Year started quickly with Cyclone Irving developing in the Indian Ocean and impacting nobody, before Cyclone Joyce developed briefly off the WA Coast and made landfall over the Northern Pilbara.

 

Cyclone Hilda making its first landfall over Broome. Radar supplied by Weatherzone

Cyclone Hilda making its first landfall over Broome. Radar supplied by Weatherzone

 

It wasn’t until almost 6 weeks later that the cyclone season resumed as Cyclone Kelvin developed as a tropical low North of the NT and tracked South West where it became a named system before making landfall South of Broome again. It took until Mid March for QLD to see its first activity as Linda developed over the Coral Sea and tracked South.. at the same time, the strongest system of the system Marcus was causing havoc as he made landfall over Darwin as a Category 2 and then bombed into a strong Category 5 system over the Indian Ocean and reached strong enough parameters to be in the top 10 strongest cyclones of all time in Australian waters. While Marcus was doing his thing, Nora developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria and made a bee-line for the QLD Peninsula where she made landfall as a Category 3 system. Then how could we forget the final system… Iris. The system that circumnavigated the Coral Sea over the course of a 3 week (21 or 22 day) stretch and ended up impacting basically nobody.

 

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcus on its last legs and Severe Tropical Cyclone Nora intensifying simultaneously. Image via BOM

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcus on its last legs and Severe Tropical Cyclone Nora intensifying simultaneously. Image via BOM

 

Tropical Cyclone Iris final track map via Wikipedia

Tropical Cyclone Iris final track map via Wikipedia

 

A further 13 tropical low’s developed which didn’t reach cyclone thresholds. The most notable was Tropical Low 11U which meandered around the Northern WA region for quite a while, delivering near record-breaking rainfall cross the Broome region. A combination of some transient lows and tropical lows also produced heavy rainfall across February and March though Tropical North QLD with some places recording more than 3000mm in the space of 6 weeks.

Thankfully despite a near-normal season, the damage and death toll was minimal. Nobody died in Australia (41 deaths occurred from Cempaka over the Java region however) with only $42M in damage ($26M from Macus and $16M from Kelvin).

While we cant rule out an out of season May tropical cyclone given how warm the sea surface temperatures still are across the region, the official end to the season itself has come. 

 

Severe flooding across Roebuck Plains, WA captured by Luke Glassington after more than 600mm in 4 days fell over the region

Severe flooding across Roebuck Plains, WA captured by Luke Glassington after more than 600mm in 4 days fell over the region

 

25 04, 2018

Brief Warm Period for SEQLD Before Temps Cool Down

After a brief taste of what Autumn should be like, temperatures are expected to warm back up again across South East QLD before cooling down over the weekend. Above image – Maximums for Thursday via BSCH.

 

 

Over the past week, temperatures have been pretty normal for April across South East QLD with Brisbane averaging 26.7ºc (just below the April average of 27.1ºc) and Ipswich sitting right on its April average of 27.2ºc. This is about to change through as a surface trough becomes positioned a little off the Coast and allows the winds to draw in some extra warmth temporarily. This should lead to maximums on Wednesday becoming slightly above average by about 1-2ºc and then further on Thursday by a few degrees more as maximums potentially push the 30-31ºc mark in some areas. Its essentially expected to be the best of both worlds, as the daytime maximums heat up, clear skies should keep minimums to slightly below average for this time of year (sitting around the low to mid teens depending on your exact location). 

 

 

This as stated above though is just temporary. During the weekend, a fresh South to South East breeze is expected to dominate once again and draw in much cooler conditions over the region. The majority of South East QLD is expected to sit around the 24-25ºc during Saturday and Sunday which is 2-3ºc below average for April. Along the Ranges, the temperature may even struggle to exceed 20ºc at Stanthorpe. Night time minimums should remain similar and sitting around 1-2ºc below average also. There is the addition of some very isolated showers becoming possible over parts of South East QLD and the Wide Bay Coast (not all areas though). If any showers were to occur, they should drop the temperature briefly and produce nothing more than a few mm at best. 

 

Forecast Maximums for SEQLD & NENSW on Sunday, April 29th via BSCH

Forecast Maximums for SEQLD & NENSW on Sunday, April 29th via BSCH

 

 

22 04, 2018

[UPDATED] Hailstorm threat for NENSW and SEQLD on Monday

South East QLD and North East NSW are seeing the potential for one of the more active hail days of the soon to be finished storm season as a cold pool moves overhead on Monday. Above image via BSCH showing severe weather threat indices for Monday.

 

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Its not too common that we see a forecast that would be more suited for Victoria or Southern NSW, over the South East QLD and North East NSW region, but that appears to be the case for Monday. A very weak surface trough is forecast to become positioned along or near the Ranges through NENSW and SEQLD. This will continue to produce an onshore South East flow over both areas during the day (similarly to the last week or so) and this will combine with strong upper trough moving directly overhead. 

 

Upper level air temperature showing a large cold pool over SEQLD and NENSW via BSCH

Upper level air temperature showing a large cold pool over SEQLD and NENSW via BSCH

 

 

For Monday, we are seeing reasonable energy levels in the atmosphere – especially over the Wide Bay and Northern Rivers regions. This energy will allow thunderstorms to develop a little better with the updrafts reaching elevated heights. What that means is that storms are likely to tap into the much colder air much easier. Models are also indicating that storms are going to be very slow moving towards the North to North East. This setup means that any storms that do develop are likely to contain hail, and given the slow movement we could easily see noticeable hail accumulations directly under storms where it could hail for 15 or 20mins and cover the entire ground making it potentially look like snow. There is a chance of some severe cells too which are more likely to be over the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands areas, which could lead to localised areas of large hail. Heavy bursts of rain are another threat, but the noted threat for the day is definitely hail. 

 

Steering winds via BSCH showing the direction that storms are expected to move

Steering winds via BSCH showing the direction that storms are expected to move

 

 

Southern Inland parts of the South East Coast (i.e the Scenic Rim) and Northern Rivers are at the highest risk for thunderstorms given the reasonable or even very good moisture levels. While there is a threat for the Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast / Brisbane Valley, a lack of moisture caused by a tongue of dry air intruding is expected to hinder potential. That doesn’t mean storms won’t occur, just they appear to be far more likely over NENSW than the Wide Bay.

 

Energy (CAPE) levels via BSCH. The higher the number, the more energy in the atmosphere. This is just a base indicator and localised higher or lower totals are possible.

Energy (CAPE) levels via BSCH. The higher the number, the more energy in the atmosphere. This is just a base indicator and localised higher or lower totals are possible.

 

***Note: Copyright material NOT for media use, broadcast or republishing without express permission from Higgins Storm Chasing***

 

14 04, 2018

Snow Tease to hit Tasmania and the Snowy’s this weekend

South Eastern AUS is expected to experience its first proper snow for the season as a pool of freezing air moves over the region this weekend. Above image – Forecast snowfall across Tasmania this weekend via Windy.

 

South Eastern AUS is expected to be impacted by widespread severe weather this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) as a vigorous cold front brings damaging to destructive winds across Tasmania, Victoria, elevated parts of Southern NSW and South Eastern SA along with thunderstorms and good rainfall to some areas. There is also an added risk of some half decent snowfall across the Tasmania Highlands and Snowy Mountains as a tongue of very cold, freezing air extends up from Antarctica behind the cold front as it moves through. This will drop temperatures to below 0ºc over Tasmania at 1500m ASL and near 0ºc over the Victoria just above 1500m ASL.

Temperatures at 1500m ASL (not surface) over South East AUS on Sunday morning via Windy.

Temperatures at 1500m ASL (not surface) over South East AUS on Sunday morning via Windy.

 

Moisture should combine with the cold air to produce snowfall down to around 800m across Tasmania, possibly even 700m with falls of up to 30cm forecast over the Tasmanian Highlands. Lighter falls of up to 10-15cm are expected over Thredbo and 5-10cm over the VIC Alpine due to the slightly warmer temperatures. The potential for damaging to destructive winds will also increase the risk of blizzards across the TAS Highlands and peaks of the Snowy Mountains. The best timing for the snow is expected to be late Saturday and until around mid morning. The cold air whilst it isn’t expected to bring snow to other areas, it could also result in some hail showers and an increased risk of hail with any storms that occur – mainly across TAS and Southern VIC.

 

Its not uncommon to see Tasmania receiving a good snow dump this early on in the season (which technically is yet to start), but it is encouraging for snow lovers and winter lovers that we are only a tease away from being in the cold season.

Forecast snowfall totals over the next 3 days across the Snowy Mountains via Windy

Forecast snowfall totals over the next 3 days across the Snowy Mountains via Windy

 

13 04, 2018

Widespread Severe Weather to sweep SE AUS this weekend!

A strong low and cold front is expected to cross the Bight bringing destructive winds to VIC and huge waves to SA! Above image via Windy showing rainfall (yellow >50mm, red >100mm).

 

 

A strong low pressure system linked to a cold front is expected to cross into the Eastern Bight tomorrow (Saturday) and move towards Tasmania. This low is expected to have a very strong and deep onshore wrap which is likely to feed up over the Bight and wrap around the Northern side of the low over South Australia and Victoria. The most prominent feature of the system is going to be the widespread damaging winds across South Australia, Tasmania and virtually the entirety of Victoria. Furthermore, destructive winds of more than 125km/h are expected across the Snowy Mountains – mostly during the afternoon and overnight into Sunday. This system should also bring enhanced showers, some possible thunderstorms and hail to Victoria and Tasmania throughout the day. Any storms that do develop are likely to contain stronger (damaging) winds and small hail. Snow cant be ruled out either for the Alps, but only as flurries on the absolute peaks of the Snowys and Tasmanian Highlands.

WINDYSEAUSWinds

 

The other feature is the huge swell across the Bight! Some fairly big waves are expected for South Australia which is usually protected from the monster waves that Australia sees (unlike the South West WA Coast and Tasmania). Waves should start at 3-5m in the morning and could increase to as much as 8-10m by the afternoon. These waves should eventually also impact Bass Strait and Tasmania overnight Saturday into Sunday and then throughout Sunday as the low moves into the Tasman Sea. 

 

Waves SA Windy

 

13 04, 2018

Warmest April Heat since 2006 for SEQLD & NENSW

Temperatures are expected to be on a noticeable climb across SEQLD and NENSW across the weekend and Monday, to end the Easter school holidays across the region. Above image: Maximums for Sunday via BSCH.

 

 

The system which produced record breaking heat across South Australia, New South Wales and Northern VIC is now expected to finally approach North East NSW and South East QLD, and while the temperatures experienced aren’t expected to be record breaking by any stretch… they are expected to be well above the April norm and could produce the warmest temperatures for April since 2006.

The heat will build up slightly on Saturday with maximums into the low 30’s across SEQLD and NENSW, particularly over places like Ipswich and Gatton which could see 32 or 33ºc, Brisbane City and places like Lismore, Casino, Beaudesert, Gympie are heading for around 30ºc. On Sunday, a trough is expected to near the Coast and direct hotter, drier air across the region resulting in temperatures climbing around 4ºc. This will allow Brisbane and Ipswich to reach 34ºc, Gatton potentially 35ºc. If this was to occur, it’ll be the warmest April day since 2006 (33.7ºc in Brisbane, 35.5ºc in Ipswich). 

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for Saturday via BSCH

OCF Forecast Maximums for Saturday via BSCH

 

 

The heat should then ease a degree or 2 on Monday as the trough tracks back Inland a fraction and allows for an increase in humidity. So while it could be a degree or 2 cooler (around 31-33ºc for most areas), the humidity may make it feel slightly warmer than previous days. This will lead to Brisbane recording at least 3, maybe 4 straight days above 30ºc for the first time since 2002 when the City went on a run of 6 days above 31ºc. A return of showers and the addition of some possible storms are expected to break the run of 30ºc+ heat next week.

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for Monday via BSCH

OCF Forecast Maximums for Monday via BSCH

 

12 04, 2018

“Some” areas to receive good rain across NSW & VIC

Its been far too long between drinks in NSW and VIC, but it looks like for “some” that the dry streak will end over Friday and Saturday. Above image showing potential storm area via BSCH for Friday.

 

A trough / cold front combination moving through South Eastern Australia is drawing in high levels of heat into areas ahead of it. Thats lead to several areas across South Australia breaking April records, with several areas across NSW and Northern VIC also challenging and breaking records. Behind this front though, a deep onshore flow is expected to increase moisture levels exponentially leading to an increase in rainfall, while an increase in storm potential is also expected along and ahead of the front.

Winds via WindyTV for midnight Friday into Saturday showing the trough line and increased moisture coming in over VIC and Inland NSW

Winds via WindyTV for midnight Friday into Saturday showing the trough line and increased moisture coming in over VIC and Inland NSW

 

 

Thunderstorms are possible across Inland NSW on both Friday and more so on Saturday, however they are likely to be hit and miss with heavy rain under them, but minimal rainfall in terms of accumulation. The better rainfall is likely to occur behind the system as showers and rain areas occur.

Unfortunately, not much rain is forecast for most areas… so its going to be very underwhelming, but for others (especially across VIC) there is the potential for good falls. 25-50mm is possible over the South West Coast and 50-100mm seems likely over the Snowy Mountains and Dandenong Ranges, extending into the NSW Southern Tablelands also. Isolated higher falls are possible, but for most… 50-100mm seems more realistic. Its the best we can offer for now, so hopefully some areas can benefit more than anticipated from the storms and the gaps can fill in over the coming weeks with more cold fronts.

Forecast rainfall via EC model until Monday 1am via weather.us

Forecast rainfall via EC model until Monday 1am via weather.us

 

10 04, 2018

Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni about to impact Fiji

Cyclone Keni has been upgraded to a Severe, Category 3 strength, as it moves closer and closer to Fiji this morning. Above image via NOAA

 

 

Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni has undergone rapid intensification over the past 24hrs to reach ‘Severe’, Category 3 strength with winds to 185km/h near the centre. The system is currently situated just West to South West of Viti Levu and its expected to start taking a more South Easterly track immediately, with a bypass of Viti Levu to the South. This should mean that Viti Levu (the main Fiji Island) is spared, but the small Islands to the South could come under threat of the more severe impacts such as destructive to very destructive winds, heavy rain and even a small storm surge depending on how close the system wants to get to them.

 

Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni official track map by Fiji Metservice

Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni official track map by Fiji Metservice

 

 

Conditions are fairly tame across Viti Levu, but for those who are there either living or on holiday, don’t be fooled. Due to the fast movements of the system, conditions are likely to rapidly deteriorate this afternoon with winds rapidly increasing to around 100km/h to possibly 130km/h at Nadi and surrounds, possibly higher, with waves of heavy rain coming in that will quickly accumulate. There have already been falls of 141mm at Penang and 166mm at Matuku (a small Island South East of Viti Levu), so this remains the biggest threat as falls of 100-200mm are expected over the next 24hrs that could cause flash flooding and some river / creek flooding. Its advised that people listen to the instructions given to them by authorities over on Fiji to ensure their safety, but if you get through the hazardous conditions today and tonight, then you should be able to return things to normal on Wednesday.

 

Rainfall totals via Windy showing 50mm+ in yellow, 100mm+ in red however localised higher falls are expected.

Rainfall totals via Windy showing 50mm+ in yellow, 100mm+ in red however localised higher falls are expected.

 

9 04, 2018

Tropical Cyclone Keni born and tracking towards Fiji

Overnight Sunday into Monday, Invest 91P / Tropical Depression 13F was upgraded to Tropical Cyclone Keni to the East of Vanuatu. The system remains on track to impact Fiji over the next 72hrs. Above image via NOAA

 

During the overnight hours of Sunday into Monday, the Fiji Meteorological Service upgraded what was Invest 91P or under their terminology Tropical Depression 13F into Tropical Cyclone Keni. The system developed a little slower than what models were hinting at, but thats a good thing. The system also received an unexpected name (from the outside) as it was expected to be named Kala, however due to a name swap which sometimes occurs in the South West Pacific, the system received Keni instead.

Fiji Metservice track map for TC Keni

Fiji Metservice track map for TC Keni

 

 

Keni is expected to be a fast moving system once it gets going. Global models remain confident on the system reaching Category 2 strength during Tuesday morning as it barrels East and South East towards Fiji. The system was originally expected to track South of Fiji and over the Kadavu Islands however models have since pushed it fractionally further South now which is better news for Viti Levu and the other main islands of Fiji as the impacts are expected to be lesser now… but also for those unprotected Islands South of Fiji, as while there is still some destructive impacts expected, they should be slightly less now (any news is good news, right?)

JTWC extended track map for TC Keni

JTWC extended track map for TC Keni

 

For those holidaying or living over on Fiji, the system may catch you off guard due to the extremely fast movement that is expected. Conditions should be okay during Monday night and early on Tuesday, however conditions should very rapidly deteriorate with strong to damaging winds (between 70 and 110km/h) over Viti Levu and heavy rain with 100-200mm from around late morning Tuesday until early Wednesday. The system should then clear the region by Wednesday with only some additional lingering heavy showers expected.

Over the next 3-4 days, rainfall totals of 100-200mm are expected over the region from the system itself and the onshore flow trailing in behind it, however isolated heavier areas are possible also. These kinds of falls will be the main threat apart from some squally conditions over the Southern side of Fiji, and could lead to further flooding. Hopefully, the flooding should clear as quickly as it occurs though. So if youre able to seek some shelter withstand the strong winds and heavy rain for about 12-18hrs, then you should be able to continue on with holidays or livelihoods from Wednesday onwards.

Most likely rainfall across Fiji via ACCESS / weather.us

Most likely rainfall across Fiji via ACCESS / weather.us