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23 10, 2018

Summer-like Heat To Sizzle Inland QLD!

While it hasn’t been at October standards yet… Inland QLD is about to get a taste of Summer as a string of 40ºc+ days lingers across large areas! Above image via OCF for Friday.

 

 

Insane heat isn’t uncommon across Inland QLD during October… take Birdsville’s 45ºc in 1995 (or the 5 other time’s Birdsville has cracked 44ºc), Windorah with 44.5ºc back in 2002, Longreach’s 44ºc back in 2002 as well. For many of these areas though, despite no rain or storms being present, it’s been a struggle to really hit the high notes when it comes to October heat.. until now…

Over the next several days, large parts of Inland QLD are likely to bake in over 40ºc heat. This large area includes the North West, West, South West, Central & Northern Inland on most days and parts of Southern Inland on various days. By definition, the daytime maximums expected are likely to exceed the thresholds for heatwave criteria (3+ days in a row of 5ºc+ above average), however its the minimums that are likely to keep it below a technical heatwave threshold (3+ nights in a row of 5ºc+ above average) with many places likely to be near their October minimums (so coolish nights and hot days).

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for QLD during Thursday. Image via BSCH

 

 

The heat should begin on Wednesday and last through until mostly likely Sunday, but possibly linger into Monday for some Central & Northern Inland areas. During Thursday, Friday and Saturday its likely to peak with Birdsville looking at back to back 43ºc days, Boulia & Bedourie 4 straight days of 42ºc, Windorah 4 straight days of 41ºc, Winton potentially seeing back to back 43ºc days, Longreach & Richmond back to back 42ºc. For many of these mentioned areas, it could be the hottest individual daily October temp since 2014.

The heat should spread towards the Coast towards the weekend also with the Capricornia heading into the high 30’s (includes Rockhampton, Biloela, Thangool). The Central Highlands pushing towards 40ºc (including Emerald, Moranbah). Cooler conditions directly on the Coast, but increased humidity will make it feel muggy.

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for QLD during Saturday. Image via BSCH

 

23 10, 2018

Burst Of Heat To Bake SEQLD!

The heat is about to get turned up for South Eastern QLD with the hottest temperatures in 4 years for October likely to impact the region despite being on track for a well below average October! Above image via OCF for Friday. 

 

 

The majority of places across South East QLD, the Darling Downs, Wide Bay and surrounds are running at about 2ºc below average for October. Some are a little closer to average than that, but some (like Dalby at almost 3ºc below average) are running much cooler. So this burst of heat, while its not uncommon for October.. it may come as a bit of a shock to the body for many people (many will also like it though too).  

Its certainly not a heatwave by any stretch, but Wednesday is likely to see the first taste of summer-like heat with maximums becoming widespread above 30ºc and some areas like Ipswich and Gatton pushing 33ºc. This will be met with temperatures further Inland across the Downs and Southern QLD, as well as further North well and truly pushing into the mid 30’s. A bit of reprieve is expected on Thursday, although Inland areas are likely to see the temperature skyrocket. Then Friday is likely to see temperatures skyrocket across the South East of the State where many places may see their hottest October day in 4 years (since records were obliterated when multiple locations recorded back to back 40ºc days across the South East). 

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for Wednesday via BSCH

 

 

For Friday,
Ipswich 37ºc, Gayndah 37ºc, Gatton 36ºc, Miles 36ºc, Archerfield 35ºc, Beaudesert 35ºc, Gympie 35ºc, Brisbane 34ºc, Maryborough 33ºc are all expected to record their hottest October day since 2014. Other areas across the Wide Bay and Darling Downs may not see their hottest October day since 2014, but likely their hottest day of October this year. Note: ZERO forecasts are indicating any records to be broken.

The heat is expected to linger at near to slightly above average across the weekend before a rapid cool change occurs on Monday, so some areas could end up seeing a run of 5, 6 or more days in a row above 30ºc across SEQLD, but only 1 or 2 of those days should be at the upper end of the spectrum.

 

OCF Forecast Maximums for Monday via BSCH

 

23 10, 2018

Hurricane Willa to impact Mexico tomorrow!

Hurricane Willa overnight has added to the list of tropical systems to reach Category 5 strength in 2018 as it barrels towards the Western Mexico Coast, with a likely landfall tomorrow. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

 

Its not uncommon for late October to produce some absolute monster hurricanes in the Eastern Pacific. Its kind of the “second season” for them. While the season typically winds down during October, historically there always seems to be one last system that has to try and outdo the rest.. it may only be one or two, but they usually go big (remember Hurricane Patricia with 400km/h winds??). Well Willa is that system this year.

 

 

Overnight (AUS time), Willa rapidly intensified into a Category 5 beast, West of Mexico. As it stands, Willa is the 10th system to reach Category 5 strength in 2018 (1 in AUS during March, 6 Super Typhoons and 3 Pacific Category 5 Hurricanes). Thankfully though, as models predicted, Willa is already undergoing a weakening pattern as it interacts with increased wind shear on approach to Mexico.. this has allowed Willa to weaken back to a Category 4 system (still very dangerous), but it should weaken back to a Category 3 prior to landfall tomorrow (Wednesday AUS time). 

 

Forecast track by the National Hurricane Center for Hurricane Willa

 

Despite this weakening pattern, very destructive winds of more than 170km/h are likely on landfall, with gusts potentially reaching 200km/h near the centre of the system. Heavy to torrential rainfall is likely to be the biggest issue with 24hr rainfall totals of 100-200mm likely near the landfall location over Western Mexico, along with a moderate storm surge which will cause issues with localised inundations along the Coast. The other promising thing is once the system starts to make landfall its expected to RAPIDLY weaken, and should be below tropical storm strength within 18-24hrs of landfall. This will mean the focus of any damage and flooding will be along the Western Mexico Coast between Culiacan and Puerto Vallarta including Tepic and Mazatlan. 

 

Wind Swath forecast by EC for Willa, showing a very isolated overall impacts near the direct landfall (blue/purple is above cyclone thresholds). Image via Windy

 

19 10, 2018

Severe Storm Outbreak LIKELY across SEQLD & NENSW

Models are indicating that the South East quarter of QLD (areas South of Rockhampton to Emerald and East of Roma & St George) as well as North East NSW are about to receive another severe thunderstorm outbreak lasting from Sunday to at least Wednesday, possibly longer. Above image – 5 day rainfall via Windy (yellow >20mm, orange >50mm).

 

 

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While some thunderstorms are expected across Southern Inland QLD and a large portion of Eastern and extensive parts of Inland NSW during Saturday… its from Sunday onwards that models are significantly ramping up the thunderstorm potential cross SEQLD and NENSW. A surface trough is expected to remain firmly positioned across the region, drawing in very warm and humid air and mixing that with upper level support to produce widespread moderate to strong instability everyday from Sunday through to Wednesday. This is likely to produce scattered thunderstorms, many of which are likely to become severe for damaging winds, heavy rain and large hail, during those days. Some models are continuing on the severe storm outbreak through Thursday and into Friday, however there is low agreement between models on that scenario at this stage. 

 

 

The focus area within the South East corner of QLD and North East of NSW will shift each day between Sunday and Wednesday. In other words, the potential is better Inland on some days and better on the Coast for other days. So that doesn’t mean people are expected to get a severe storm every single day, but they will be around. There is also the potential for some supercells during this outbreak given the atmosphere is showing somewhat of a turning environment which will allow severe storms to begin to rotate. In saying that, only a couple of supercells are expected at this stage (unlike last Thursday), and the tornado threat is LOW. 

Outside of the main threat region, isolated to scattered storms, with some severe are expected to continue across Eastern NSW. While there is high potential across Saturday, some other days between Sunday and Wednesday (not all days) pose a widespread threat too.

With the potential for severe storms very high over the next several days, its a timely reminder that severe storms can cause damage and we urge people to pay close attention to official warnings as well as any alerts coming through HSC to ensure they remain safe. 

 

SWEAT values via BSCH (one model) for Sunday across SEQLD & NENSW.

 

11 10, 2018

Life Threatening Hurricane Michael nearing landfall!

Major Hurricane Michael is nearing its expected landfall area of the Florida Panhandle, near Panama City as a life threatening, high end Category 4, almost Category 5 system! Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

Hurricane Michael developed several days ago near the Yucatan Peninsula and global models have forecast the track of the system very well, with early indications showing the system was expected to make a quick landfall over the Florida Panhandle before being overcome by a ridge to the West and North and then shooting North East across the Eastern U.S. Those forecasts held and held, and now have come true, with the system only a few hours away at the most from making a landfall near Panama City, Florida.

Official forecast track via the National Hurricane Center with observations down the bottom.

 

 

There have been some monster hurricanes during October in history, including the strongest ever Atlantic system, Hurricane Wilma, back in 2007. So to see such a strong system in what is definitely the latter part of the season and certainly out of the peak, isn’t unheard of. However, this shouldn’t deter from the fact that Michael is a very high end Category 4 system and may even reach Category 5 strength just moments prior to landfall (which may not be indicated on official observations due to the timing between updates from the National Hurricane Center, but it may be reflected by chasers who intercept the eye). 

 

While there is certainly some complacency surrounding what happened with Florence, Michael is a much different story. Michael is an intensifying system which will reach its peak intensity ON landfall, not a day or more prior. This may also enhance the damage near the centre of the system (as seen in previous systems such as Hurricane Harvey last year). The system is likely to bring a life threatening wind threat to not only areas immediately surrounding the landfall region, but extending well inland as it takes the system up to 24hrs to drop back below very destructive wind criteria. Winds of up to 260km/h sustained are possible with this system and 230km/h+ are likely, along with much stronger gusts. There is also the threat of a catastrophic and life threatening storm surge of up to 14ft along the Northern Florida Coast and North East Gulf of Mexico. This storm surge will also extend well inland and completely inundate houses along the Coast which have very little protection from break walls or sand bars. The combination of these two threats will not only pose a significant risk to human life and lead to an obvious state of emergency, but it will also bring down powerlines, completely destroy any buildings near the eye landfall and significantly damage buildings an extensive distance away from the eye, but also bring down trees, lead to excessive flooding and impact communications which could lead to some areas being isolated and stranded for several days. 

Storm Surge Forecast map showing 9ft+ of surge in red, 3ft+ in yellow. This is mostly occurring East of the forecast landfall due to the onshore winds and Coastal bend. Image via the National Hurricane Center.

 

Thankfully the one “good” threat is that the system is fast moving and will likely produce torrential rain, but not excessive rainfall like Florence or Harvey. Heavy rainfall of 100-200m is likely surrounding the core of the system which will extend through Georgia and the Carolina’s, and of course lead to flash flooding and some river and creek flooding, especially through the Carolina’s who have only recently (in the last week or two) seen flood waters ease from Florence. 

Hurricane Michael Rainfall forecast via Windy. Red >100mm, purple >200mm.

 

 

1 10, 2018

Kong-Rey to potentially become the next Super Typhoon

Typhoon Kong-Rey appears to be the next system in what has been an intense peak season for the Western Pacific, to reach Super Typhoon status over the coming days as it barrels North West towards the Ryukyu Islands. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

Typhoon Kong-Rey is currently situated well South of Japan and well East of the Philippines, over open waters across the Western Pacific. Kong-Rey is taking a very similar track to that of Trami which is currently situated over Japan as a weakening system, bringing heavy to very heavy rainfall and damaging winds to large parts of the region. Over the course of the next few days, as Kong-Rey tracks North West, its likely to enter a very favourable environment for consistent intensification and also eventually undergo an eye wall replacement cycle (which is fairly common for all typhoon’s of this nature) and this help it intensify further, allowing it to most likely reach ‘Super Typhoon’ or Category 5 strength. 

Rainbow Satellite showing a pinhole eye on a strengthening typhoon via NOAA

 

While Super Typhoon’s arent uncommon in the big picture, virtually every Typhoon season sees at least one or two. This year, with the very low vertical wind shear over very warm ocean temperatures East of the Philippines and South East / East of Taiwan… there is a period of what appears to be relentlessness with systems reaching Super Typhoon status, almost as if it was a daily occurrence. If Kong-Rey was to reach such a strength, it will be the 4th system out of the last 5 to reach Category 5 strength with Jebi (August 27 to September 7), Mangkhut (September 7 to September 17) and Trami (September 20 onwards) preceding it already. 

 

The system is likely to impact the Ryukyu Islands, which have just been directly hit by Trami less than a week ago, From there, models are split, and close attention should be paid to Eastern China, Southern Japan and South Korea as potential impact zones for the final landfall of Kong-Rey. Very destructive winds, torrential rainfall and a dangerous storm surge will threaten any of the Ryukyu Islands near the eye, with a widespread swath of damaging winds and heavy rain impacting an area well and truly away from the eye. Power failure (for any areas that still have power) and flooding are likely impacts also.

JTWC Forecast Track for Kong-Rey

 

30 09, 2018

Typhoon Trami now making landfall over Japan!

Typhoon Trami is now starting to make landfall over Southern Japan as the equivalent strength of a Category 3 Australian Cyclone. The system is bringing damaging to destructive winds and very heavy rainfall to the region. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

After an extensive period of time over open water, both as a Typhoon and Super Typhoon, Trami eventually made landfall over the Ryukyu Islands, an extensive island group between Taiwan and Japan. The system brought damaging to destructive winds and heavy rain to large portions of these islands. Its then that the system turned more Northerly and now more North Easterly as it interacts with a complex ridging pattern. This has places Trami on the doorstep of Southern Japan where its likely to make landfall over the next few hours.

JTWC Forecast track map for Trami

 

Trami is likely to slice Japan in half as it moves right up the middle of the country. This is both good and bad. The good news of this scenario is that it will interact with continuous land areas as well as mountainous terrain which will significantly weaken the system after the initial landfall. The bad news however is that more people are likely to be impacted. While the Japanese community isn’t foreign to these kinds of systems and are more than equipped to deal with systems much stronger than this one.. damaging winds will be a notable threat across the course of the next 12-24hrs before the system weakens too much. While heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely also. Falls of 100mm+ are likely across widespread parts of the country, with isolated falls of 250mm+ being possible, especially over the Eastern or Southern Coast where winds will be more onshore for a longer period of time. This kind of rainfall over a short period of time will be enough to create flash flooding, some creek and river flooding along with some potential for mud slides and landslides. Power outages will still be a temporary issue along with minor house and building damage, most notably over the Southern regions of the country.

Rainfall forecast via Windy showing 100mm+ in red and 200mm+ in purple over Japan from Trami

 

 

After Trami, all eyes will be on Kong-Rey which is following an almost identical path to Trami and looking to near super typhoon strength with peak forecasts indicating the system to reach 120kts (super typhoon is 135kts) and gusts to 145kts over the next several days.

JTWC forecast track map on Sunday evening September 30th, for Tropical Storm Kong-Rey

 

28 09, 2018

Typhoon Trami heading for Japan!

Typhoon Trami has remained a powerful system over the open waters East of Taiwan and is now expected over the coming days to make a turn to the North and then North East where a direct impact over Japan appears likely. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

After Trami reached Super Typhoon, Category 5 strength several days ago… the system became near stationary / quasi-stationary over open waters East of Taiwan. Models were holding this potential for a number of days in the lead up and its come to fruition. Despite being in a favourable environment of warm sea surface temperatures of 28-30ºc, very low to low vertical wind shear of less than 10kts, and in some cases less than 5kts… the churning of the ocean caused by the system over the same areas has diminished ocean heat content (heat with depth) and this meant the system has undergone some obvious weakening characteristics including the eye becoming quite large and ragged. 

Current JTWC Forecast track map for Trami

 

While the system is no longer a super typhoon, this shouldn’t change the mindset of people. Trami is still expected to make a landfall over the Ryukyu Islands as a powerful system with winds gusting to around 195-200km/h. As the system gets a move on, its expected to briefly intensify to around 220km/h before making a landfall over Southern Japan across the weekend. On top of the damaging to destructive winds, widespread heavy to torrential rainfall is likely and this is expected to cause widespread flash flooding, river and creek flooding across the Ryukyu Islands and the majority of Japan where falls of 100-200mm are likely and isolated falls of 400mm+ are possible. A storm surge is also likely over the Ryukyu Islands and Southern Japan which is expected to cause coastal inundations. Power failures, land slides, mud slides, roads and highways being cut by both debris and flooding, along with some building damage is all expected across Japan, especially Southern and South East Coastal areas which will be impacted the hardest before the system weakens quickly due to mountain interaction, land interaction and increased vertical wind shear.

Rainfall forecast for the track of Trami. Red > 100mm, pink >250mm, white >400mm. Image via Windy

 

24 09, 2018

Trami intensifies into Category 5 Super Typhoon

Typhoon Trami has just been upgraded to Super Typhoon (Category 5) strength as it continues to track towards Taiwan or the Islands between Taiwan and Japan. Above image: Rainbow satellite imagery of Trami with a big eye via RAMMB / CIRA.

 

In the past 24hrs, Trami has RAPIDLY intensified from a Tropical Storm to a Category 5, Super Typhoon. The system is currently situated over open waters in the Western Pacific and maintaining sustained winds of 240km/h with gusts to 300km/h. Over the next 12-24hrs, the system is expected to hold its strength, if not intensify gradually further to a 175kt (325km/h) system as it slows down over these same open waters courtesy of a complex ridging pattern. 

Forecast Track Map for JTWC for Super Typhoon Trami. Issued Monday, September 24th

 

Beyond the next 24hrs, models are starting to favour a North Westerly track however they are remaining uncertain with an exact landfall location – bouncing between Taiwan, the Islands North of Taiwan and a recurve towards the North and then North East. This exact location for a landfall will be heavily dependant on when the system starts to turn more North West, then more North, however places such as Taiwan the Islands between Taiwan and Japan are at the highest risk of a direct landfall towards the end of the weekend and into early next week. Trami should maintain super typhoon strength for the next 72hrs possibly 4 days, before entering a slightly more unfavourable environment and weakening before any landfall is made. 

Regardless of a weakening pattern, the system is expected to remain very dangerous with winds to 250km/h, torrential rainfall which has the potential to produce falls of 300-500mm over any areas that receive a direct hit along with a dangerous storm surge, again for any areas that are directly hit. We will continue to monitor any changes in tracking for the system and hone in on the areas which are most likely to be impacted towards the weekend.

 

Wave heights via the EC model showing 15m waves around Trami towards any landfall potential. Image via Windy.

13 09, 2018

Dangerous Potential 24hrs Out From Life Threatening Florence Landfall

Issued 6:30PM Thursday September 13th 2018. Hurricane Florence has thankfully weakened significantly over the past 6-12 hours, but the life threatening risk is still massive in regards to catastrophic flooding and storm surge. Above image: Simulated Satellite via HWRF / Tropicaltidbits.

Over the past 12 hours or so, Florence has interacted with some unfavourable conditions that have allowed the system to thankfully weaken. It has significantly weakened from a Category 4, almost Category 5 beast, into a now Category 2 system. In saying that, the system is still likely to produce 110mph (175km/h) winds on landfall, with higher gusts likely. The issue was never about the wind though, thats just a side note with a system like this.

National Hurricane Center Official Forecast Track for Florence.

 

The big threat, has always been, and is still, the CATASTROPHIC FLOODING and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE which are highly likely to cause a SIGNIFICANT risk to human and animal life. Residents are continuing to be ordered and pleaded to evacuate off the Coastline of both North Carolina and South Carolina. Why the system is still posing this horrific threat is because a ridge (as expected) has built to the North and West. This has helped cause the system to weaken, but its also expected to make the system slow down and even stall ON LANDFALL, and then cause Florence to hug the Coast as it tracks slowly South ALONG the Coast.

Rainfall totals (white >400mm) showing a MASSIVE flood potential over North Carolina and South Carolina via Windy

This will greatly increase the width of the storm surge threat and cause TORRENTIAL rainfall over North Carolina and VERY HEAVY FLOODING rainfall over South Carolina and through adjacent Inland regions of both States. Falls of more than 700mm are likely in isolated areas over North Carolina with widespread falls of 250-500mm from North of Charleston, South Carolina to Morehead City, North Carolina including Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. This rainfall is likely to combine with a 6-13/15ft storm surge along the Coastline which is likely to cause a significant and life threatening threat. The combination of these 2 events are expected to be unprecedented for the region and lead to entire buildings potentially being submgered, the geographic landscape of the North Carolina Outer Banks being changed forever, catastrophic flooding which may isolate areas for more than a week along with cut roads and highways, downed powerlines, downed trees and emergency assistance becoming extremely limited in the early aftermath.

We continue to urge people who haven’t left, to leave. This kind of event hasn’t been experienced before. Yes Hazel produced a bigger storm surge, yes Hugo was a stronger system, yes Floyd was horrific… but none of these systems produced this kind of rainfall and this kind of storm surge together, simultaneously.

Overall threats with a wind gust base map via Windy