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27 12, 2016

Extreme New Year Heatwave for SEQ & NENSW

Much of Southern and Central Inland QLD are expected to end the 2016 calendar year with a hot spell, but the focus is forecast to be over the North-East NSW and South-East QLD districts where EXTREME heatwave conditions are LIKELY.

 

 

A very warm airmass is forecast to move over the region on the 29th of December with very warm and humid North-East winds expected to feed into the region. The combination of these 2 ingredients is expected to produce well above average temperatures. As the days progress this heat is expected to be amplified even more, with some regions expected to nudge the 40ºc mark.

The criteria for a heatwave is 3 consecutive days of 4ºc or more above average. For most “warmer” regions. Most regions across this period are expected to see at least 3 days of 5-6ºc above average, and some areas up to 10ºc above average marking this as an EXTREME Heatwave.

BOM Heatwave pilot conditions indicating EXTREME Heatwave conditions

BOM Heatwave pilot conditions indicating EXTREME Heatwave conditions

 

Forecast Maximums for Friday, December 30th, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Friday, December 30th, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Saturday, December 31st, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Saturday, December 31st, via BSCH/OCF

The hottest days are forecast to be New Years Eve and New Years Day where temperatures are expected to nudge 40ºc through inland parts of both South-East QLD and North-East NSW. Coastal areas should climb into the mid 30’s also, with Brisbane going for potentially 35ºc both days and Ipswich up to 38ºc both days. There will be very little reprieve from the heat as overnight minimums struggle to drop into the mid 20’s. Humidity will also make things feel a whole lot hotter, with bayside regions sitting on 50-70% and inland regions sitting on 30-50%. This will make conditions feel up to 5ºc hotter for some. 

Forecast Maximums for Sunday, January 1st, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Sunday, January 1st, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Monday, January 2nd, via BSCH/OCF

Forecast Maximums for Monday, January 2nd, via BSCH/OCF

This is a reminder to be mindful under heatwave conditions. Drink plenty of WATER, wear light clothes, avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day, wear plenty of sunscreen if you are outside and be mindful of the elderly, pregnant, young children and pets/animals as they are most susceptible to heat stress.

 

 

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24 12, 2016

Christmas Rain coming for Central AUS!

Central Australia is about to be delivered a Christmas wish, with widespread rainfall likely to bring good falls to the entirety of Interior Australia over the Christmas/Boxing Day period.

A tropical low which originated near Darwin has since tracked over the Kimberley producing record breaking rainfall over Broome and significant widespread rainfall over the Kimberley and Eastern WA. This low is expected to be located West of Giles during Christmas Day and begin to track in a more South-Easterly direction where it should be located over Northern SA during Boxing Day before moving into the Bight and disintegrating.

OCF Forecast Rainfall for Christmas Day via BSCH

OCF Forecast Rainfall for Christmas Day via BSCH

OCF Forecast Rainfall for Boxing Day via BSCH

OCF Forecast Rainfall for Boxing Day via BSCH

While the low sits over Central Australia, a large and very strong Northerly moisture fetch is forecast to feed down from the waters off of the Northern Territory and Gulf of Carpentaria. This moisture is expected to feed into a warm environment creating large areas of convection leading to scattered storms and widespread rain areas. These rain areas should be prolonged and produce widespread falls of 50-150mm across Southern NT, Northern SA and Eastern WA. Isolated falls of 200mm+ cant be ruled out. Flooding is likely with some towns potentially being isolated. There is also the chance that some 24hr records MAY be broken.

Gusty winds may also accompany the low as it maintains a fairly solid and intense circulation. These winds COULD bring down some trees and rattle a few windows, especially through areas such as Giles (Eastern WA) and Northern/North-West SA on Christmas/Boxing Day, Central Coastal/Adelaide Metro on Tuesday. A flood watch is already in place and a severe weather warning is probable for South Australia.

Forecast 4 day rainfall via BOM

Forecast 4 day rainfall via BOM

29 11, 2016

Severe – Extreme Heatwave conditions to hit QLD & Northern NSW!

Above image: © Higgins Storm Chasing – Queensland maximum temperature forecast 

Virtually the entire State of Queensland and the Northern half of New South Wales (North of Newcastle to Broken Hill) are forecast experience heatwave conditions from this Thursday onward. Very hot and potentially dangerous temperatures will abruptly start the Summer season which could last for up to a week! This forecast will also greatly increase fire danger ratings to severe and possibly extreme for large areas. There is a heightened health risk to humans, pets, livestock and wildlife during this weather event.  

 

A near stationary low pressure trough is forecast to be located over inland Queensland from Thursday until at least Monday, possibly longer. This will create a stagnant air mass with very hot and dry Northerly and Westerly winds feeding in over Northern New South Wales and most of Queensland. This will lead to Severe – Extreme heatwave conditions across Central and Southern Queensland districts extending into Northern New South Wales. Heatwave conditions are forecast for at least 85% of Queensland this weekend! 

On each given day between Thursday and Monday virtually all of inland Queensland and Northern inland New South Wales districts have forecast maximum temperatures of between 38 – 42c. South West and Central West Queensland districts may see maximum temperatures as high as 42 – 45c. Along and within 15kms of the Queensland / Northern New South Wales coastline, maximum temperatures will also be hot but slightly less than inland areas with most going for 31 – 35c. A strong note with these temperatures is the significant increase as soon as you are located just inland away from the beach front.

These very high temperatures are not uncommon on occasions during the Summer months however the prolonged nature of this weather event is what’s leading to the Severe – Extreme heatwave conditions being forecast. Highest ever recorded December temperatures may not necessarily occur, although some towns are forecast to go very close to breaking and setting new long standing records. 

Please click here and read the very informative and important safety information about heatwaves from the Queensland Government!

 

nsw-heat-dec-1-to-5

Above image: © Higgins Storm Chasing – New South Wales maximum temperature forecast

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25 11, 2016

Second weekend in a row with Tropical Low

Models are suggesting for a second weekend running that a tropical low is likely to form around the Solomon Islands. Above image via BSCH showing the wind streamlines at their forecast maximum intensity on Wednesday

Global models are in agreement that during late Friday or more likely during Saturday, a tropical low is likely to develop to the South-West of the Solomon Islands in the Northern Coral Sea. All models do have this system tracking shifting South to South-East so it is LIKELY to remain offshore from Queensland and pose no threat to the Coast (at this stage – things can change).

 

Models are also in agreement that during the early stages of next week, that conditions are expected to be favourable for the system to begin intensifying and there is a chance (albeit small) that it could become a weak Tropical Cyclone near New Caledonia. If it doesn’t become a cyclone (as stated is a small chance), then strong tropical low formation is expected.

 

GFS Sunday wind observations showing the full formation of the Low

GFS Sunday wind observations showing the full formation of the Low

Around the system (regardless of strength), intense to dangerous sea conditions with large waves are likely. Thunderstorms are also likely to develop around the system and these could become severe with heavy rain and damaging winds. Heavy rain is also likely. 

At this stage there is no threat to the Queensland Coast, however the clockwise rotation of the system may indirectly impact Queenslands Eastern seaboard but drawing in extra moisture to a surface trough leading to shower and thunderstorm developments.

Rainfall totals via PivotalWeather showing widespread falls over 200mm (yellow) and up to 700mm

Rainfall totals via PivotalWeather showing widespread falls over 200mm (yellow) and up to 700mm

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21 11, 2016

First heat and fire threat for VIC and NSW

Temperatures are forecast to soar across VIC and mainly inland NSW during Monday, leading to a notable increase in fire dangers across the region. Above image showing the forecast maximums for NSW and VIC via BSCH (purple indicates >38ºc).

A low pressure trough is forecast to be situated between the Kimberley in WA, stretching down into SA. This trough is expected to precede a large cloud band which is maintaining high moisture levels. As the trough pushes towards the East and North-East throughout the day, hot North to North-West winds are forecast to feed into all of Victoria and much of inland NSW pushing the temperatures into the high 30’s and possibly even low 40’s for some regions.

These hot and dry winds are forecast to combine with grass and foliage which has been boosted in nutrients from the Winter rains. The short version of this means that foliage is more flammable and could start fires much quicker than usual. This has lead to an increased in fire dangers across Southern Inland NSW and much of VIC with most regions seeing a Very High Fire Danger, while the Mallee district in NW VIC is under a total fire ban and Severe Fire Danger.

 

Fire Danger Ratings for Victoria via the County Fire Authority

Fire Danger Ratings for Victoria via the County Fire Authority

 

Fire Danger Ratings by the NSW Rural Fire Service

Fire Danger Ratings by the NSW Rural Fire Service

 

Its expected that later in the day and overnight, as that trailing cloud band moves through, that numerous thunderstorms are likely to develop. Some of these storms are expected to become severe with damaging winds a key threat. The combination of wind and lightning could lead to further issues, but there is also expected to be some rainfall with these storms which may limit that threat.

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21 10, 2016

Clean up begins after Parkes Tornado and Young Supercell

The damage bill is expected to climb through both Young and Parkes in Southern/Central NSW after violent storms hit the region. Above image via Mike Phillips of the Grandstand at Parkes Racecourse

During Friday evening, a cluster of severe thunderstorms across the NSW SW Slopes and Plains + CW Slopes and Plains rapidly intensified. These storms developed into Supercells though the assistance of rotation in the atmosphere provided by a trough/low combination to the West and low level turning in the atmosphere through the region directly.

Parkes was the first town hit, with the Supercell roaring into town virtually smack on 7pm local time. While the town itself was battered by large hail up to 3cm and damaging to locally destructive winds which brought down trees, powerlines and blacked out at least half the time. The reports circulated around the possibility of a Tornado hitting the local racecourse. While the tornado was likely rain wrapped and hard to see, multiple reports came forward and these were backed up by damage photos which show clear tornado-like damage to the racecourse. Other houses suffered damage also, while cars were damaged from both the wind and hail.

Close up damage to the racetrack grandstand in Parkes via Rodney Ross

Close up damage to the racetrack grandstand in Parkes via Rodney Ross

Front view of the Parkes racetrack grandstand via Rodney Ross

Front view of the Parkes racetrack grandstand via Rodney Ross

 

 

Entire wall crumbled at Gecko's in Parkes via Roxanne Gallacher

Entire wall crumbled at Gecko’s in Parkes via Roxanne Gallacher

Massive tree uprooted and dropped on a car. Image Credit: Nicole Brown

Massive tree uprooted and dropped on a car. Image Credit: Nicole Brown

Debris (what looks to be metal sheeting) twisted around fencing and trees in Parkes via Rodney Ross

Debris (what looks to be metal sheeting) twisted around fencing and trees in Parkes via Rodney Ross

Shortly after, another Supercell entered Canowindra, to the South-East of Parkes. While minimal reports have come out of Canowindra it would appear as though the cell weakened as it hit town. The view from afar though was certainly one of ‘wow’.

Supercell at Canowindra via Sherrie Whitty

Supercell at Canowindra via Sherrie Whitty

 

 

 

At around 8:45pm a rapidly rotating Supercell directly hit Young. This supercell wasn’t showing any signs of tornadic production – at least not as much as what Parkes showed. However the cell did produce an avalanche of hail with hailstones between golf ball and tennis ball size (4-6cm) confirmed by numerous locals in and around town. These hailstones smashed car windows, dented cars, shredded trees and smashed tiles/windows on houses.

Large Hail from Young via Gin Monckton

Large Hail from Young via Gin Monckton

Hail via Leah Saunders

Hail via Leah Saunders

Lots of hail via Gaye Oldfield

Lots of hail via Gaye Oldfield

Large Hail from Young via Scott Eldridge

Large Hail from Young via Scott Eldridge

 

 

19 10, 2016

Philippines brace for Haima – the STRONGEST Typhoon of 2016

Super Typhoon Haima is now the strongest Typhoon of 2016 comfortably sitting above Category 5 ‘Super’ status. Above image of Haima Tuesday night (AEST) via NOAA 

Even many days before Haima was even a low pressure system in the Western Pacific, models had it pinned down as the strongest Typhoon for 2016. In one of those rare occurrences, very little has changed between then (more than a week ago) and now. The intensity has barely changed, the track has barely changed and all models have been on board.

Haima is currently a Category 5 Super Typhoon packing sustained winds of 270km/h and wind gusts to 325km/h. This comfortably sits it atop the Typhoon list for 2016 beating out Meranti which had sustained winds to 260km/h and gusts to 295km/h. It currently has a central pressure of 900hpa and with slight intensification still possible, a sub-900 pressure reading is possible.

Haima is currently holding a track in which it would cross the Far North of the Philippines, across Northern Luzon district during Thursday local time. Despite some land interaction, incredibly warm seas and very low (almost non-existent) vertical wind shear will allow Haima to maintain its strength as it nears and crosses the Coast. A very dangerous storm surge is highly likely to occur which will inundate communities along the Coastline (of which there are thankfully very few) while widespread falls of 300mm+ are likely to occur across Northern Luzon and isolated falls of up to 600mm are possible. This will lead to significant flooding, mud and land slides which will be somewhat escalated courtesy of Typhoon Sarika dumping more than 500mm on some areas less than a week ago. Flooding will no doubt inundate and isolate towns causing a threat to human life. Very destructive winds of more than 250km/h with gusts to more than 300km/h are likely leading to power outage and  significant structural damage. While an added threat of possible Tornadoes with any thunderstorms cant be ruled out.

Thankfully a lot of the Northern Luzon region is jungle with next to nobody live there, but outside of the jungle there are dozens if not hundreds of vibrant communities in the path of this monster, along with all of those living on offshore islands who are vulnerable. We hope that all remain safe during this time!

18 10, 2016

Shelf Cloud ignites the SEQ Storm Season

South-East QLD and Brisbane in particular has felt the first proper storm of the Season as a front stretching over 300km long brought severe weather causing injuries. Above image from Woody Point via HSC Photographer Jason

Forecast models were painting a fairly consistent picture between them, indicating that most likely a line of strong to severe thunderstorms was going to develop across the Darling Downs and Coalfields, spreading into the Wide Bay and South-East region later before clearing the Coast prior to sunset for most regions. This was one of those times where what the models said… happened. 

HSC premium membership forecast map for Monday, October 17th 2016. To gain access to these maps click here

HSC premium membership forecast map for Monday, October 17th 2016. To gain access to these maps click here

By the early afternoon, a gust front had become established across the Central and Western Darling Downs between Inverell (Northern NSW) and to the East of Roma. By 3pm this line was now located between Chinchilla and Stanthorpe and had become severe warned for damaging wind gusts. Soon after, Dalby recorded 89km/h winds, Oakey then followed with 76km/h, Wellcamp maxed the official gusts at 93km/h and Toowoomba saw 72km/h. Unfortunately, a man in his 40’s was injured near Toowoomba after a tree branch fell on him. Its understood that he has notable chest injuries but is in a stable condition

By 5:40pm while the line was stretching all the way from Murgon to Casino (300km), it contained a severe core 130km long which barrelled straight into Ipswich, Brisbane and the Bayside producing 89km/h winds in the Bayside and 78km/h at the Airport. More than 12,000 people lost power also with widespread falls of 10-20mm observed across Brisbane Metro, Scenic Rim, Granite Belt and Gold Coast Hinterland. The most prominent feature however was the structure with an intense shelf cloud swallowing all underneath it.

Shelf cloud hitting Woody Point via Charles Niatou

Shelf cloud hitting Woody Point via Charles Niatou

Caboolture via Bronson Tilley

Caboolture via Bronson Tilley

Shelf Cloud about to hit Brisbane City via HSC Photographer Dale

Shelf Cloud about to hit Brisbane City via HSC Photographer Dale

Scarborough via Kristen Trask

Scarborough via Kristen Trask

The front cleared the Coast prior to sunset however it remained active through inland parts of the Wide Bay and Capricornia until around 8pm when most lightning stopped. Heavy rain however went on to hit Bundaberg, Calliope and Gladstone with reasonable falls noted also. Given this area was only under a chance of storms it seems to be a fairly reasonable outcome based on predictions with only the area between Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast failing to fire.

Panorama of the shelf cloud at North Caboolture via Lach Down

Panorama of the shelf cloud at North Caboolture via Lach Down

SEQ sunset via a drone captured by Shane Davac

SEQ sunset via a drone captured by Shane Davac

Sunset and rainbow after the storm at Bowen Hills via Jodi Zolek-Jones

Sunset and rainbow after the storm at Bowen Hills via Jodi Zolek-Jones

15 10, 2016

Typhoon Haima to become a monster in coming days!

Typhoon Haima was officially named during Saturday, October 15th, being upgraded from a depression into a Category 1 typhoon. However over the next 3-5 days, its likely to become a monster and threaten land! Above image via Tropicaltidbits

A tropical depression located about 460km East of the Island of Yap (part of the Federated States of Micronesia) was officially upgraded to Typhoon status after satellite depicted a consolidated low level circulation amongst the generalised low pressure system. This system is currently tracking WNW at a relatively healthy pace, however its expected to veer more toward the North-West in the coming 24-48 hours where it will take on extremely rapid intensification.

Current satellite imagery of Haima's convection via NOAA

Current satellite imagery of Haima’s convection via NOAA

Haima is likely to become a Category 5 Super Typhoon during Monday, and strengthen further beyond that as it enters an extremely favourable environment of virtually no wind shear along with very warm sea surface temperatures. When this system first appeared on longer range models, the indications were that it was going to be huge and now official agencies are predicting a maximum strength of Category 5 with 140kt (260km/h) sustained winds and 170kt (315km/h) wind gusts. This would make strongest typhoon for season 2016, beating Super Typhoon Meranti from September.

Forecast track map via JTWC

Forecast track map via JTWC

Haima is currently predicted to make landfall over the Northern Philippines. Models have held this position for some time now, and with high pressure systems dominating China and Taiwan for the next week, its expected to hold this track or something close to it. The situation is all the more magnified as currently the Northern Philippines are experiencing Typhoon Sarika (Category 1) which is producing phenomenal rainfall over the region.

Haima is likely to produce very destructive wind speeds of more than 200km/h (260km/h at peak intensity) and gusts to more than 250km/h (315km/h at peak), torrential rainfall of more than 500mm with localised falls of up to 800mm, very dangerous seas and storm surge. The best case scenario for the Philippines is that Haima shifts slightly further North, this however will put Taiwan under a flooding rain risk and there are a bunch of populated islands in between both countries which are unprotected.

Forecast track map average (black line) via Tropicaltidbits for Haima

Forecast track map average (black line) via Tropicaltidbits for Haima

Further updates will occur ahead of the system’s predicted landfall of Thursday (October 20th).

13 10, 2016

Hurricane Nicole likely to hit Bermuda

Hurricane Nicole is set to cause havoc across the small island of Bermuda with a direct impact likely within the next 24hrs. Above image via NOAA

Hurricane Nicole which was largely ignored during Matthew’s existence is now a well established Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds to 110mph (175km/h) and wind gusts of up to 135mph (220km/h). Over the past 48hrs in particular, Nicole has shown increased organisation within her core and now has a fully fledged and very large eye (in comparison to the overall system). Over the next 24hrs, Nicole is likely to track towards the North to North-East which will place her directly in line for a hit on Bermuda during late Thursday afternoon local time.

Forecast track via National Hurricane Center

Forecast track via National Hurricane Center

 

While the impacts will most likely be limited in terms of duration across Bermuda, very destructive winds are likely due to Nicole unlikely going to experience any weakening before or shortly after impact. Other threats though include a 6-8ft storm surge which will likely flood all Coastal areas, and rainfall of 100-200mm widespread across the entire island and localised falls of up to 250mm. These kinds of rains on a small island which doesn’t regularly experience rapid downpours will likely lead to flash flooding, any rivers or creeks throughout the region will potentially break their banks. Some towns may become isolated for a period of time. Power is likely to be cut across the region with trees and powerlines coming down in winds, while roofs will likely be torn off properties. There is also an elevated tornado threat which has been stated in the National Hurricane Centre discussion with waterspouts likely occurring and some may potentially come ashore.

Our thoughts go out to the 65,000+ people in the path of Nicole and we hope that all initiatives are taken to ensure safety is priority.

"Forecast