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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).

9 10, 2016

1 in 5 year wind event hits VIC, SA hits 40ºc

A vigorous cold front is currently sweeping SA and VIC producing winds which are typically only seen once every 5 years for the region. Above image via BSCH

A vigorous cold front is currently crossing through Western VIC and South-East / Central Inland parts of South Australia. This cold front is generating damaging to near destructive winds ahead of it and along it, especially through Victoria, leading to widespread damage from trees snapping and being uprooted as well as powerlines falling / trees falling on powerlines. Widespread gusts of 90km/h+ have been observed over Melbourne Metro – some of these gusts include:

  • 119km/h at Fawkner Beacon (State-high – Port Phillip Bay)
  • 111km/h at Mt William in the State’s West
  • 109km/h at Point Wilson (Port Phillip Bay, near Avalon)
  • 107km/h at Melbourne Airport
  • 106km/h at Avalon
  • 104km/h at Essendon Airport
  • 100km/h at St Kilda

While higher gusts have been noted this year, the system itself is producing widespread high winds which are typically only seen once every 5 years (quoted by BOM in the Severe Weather Warning). A severe weather warning is current for both SA and VIC and should remain in place for the rest of today.

Radar and Satellite showing the winds over VIC with showers in the South-West approaching via Weatherzone

Radar and Satellite showing the winds over VIC with showers in the South-West approaching via Weatherzone

South Australia is feeling the wrath of this system too. Winds have gusted to 109km/h at Kuitpo in Adelaide Metro and102km/h at Cape Willoughby, with most places seeing at least 60km/h gusts if not higher. The very strong winds ahead of the system feeding hot air across the State lead to the first 40ºc temperature for the 2016-17 Season falling for South Australia. Roxby Downs claimed the title at 1:58pm hitting 40.1ºc before the front and change moved through. Oodnadatta hit 39.4ºc as well with the change arriving shortly.

Radar and Temperatures across SA as of 2pm local time via Weatherzone

Radar and Temperatures across SA as of 2pm local time via Weatherzone

 

A band of rain is current along the SA Coast, trailing a few hours behind the front itself. This band of rain should produce light to moderate showers but due to the speed at which its moving, these showers are unlikely to result to much with most places seeing between 5 and 15mm. Later on today, scattered showers should increase across VIC as the band of rain approaches, with the chance of some thunderstorms also. Any storms that do develop will likely behind severe courtesy of the damaging winds already in the area.

OCF Forecast Rainfall for South-East SA and VIC via BSCH

OCF Forecast Rainfall for South-East SA and VIC via BSCH

 

6 10, 2016

QLD getting the heat turned up! – widespread 35ºc temps likely

Queensland (and greater Australia for that matter) are forecast to see a real turn up in heat with temperatures nearing those experienced more often in Summer rather than the start of October. For many places (especially outside of the Gulf and Northern Inland QLD) it will be the warmest temperatures experienced since about March. Above image via BSCH/OCF

Basically, a slow moving high pressure system and associated ridge is forecast to linger over QLD during Friday and the weekend, with warm to hot winds wrapping around the backside of it. These will be further enhanced by a trough system moving through the country and acting as a cool change – ahead of it though, it will be drawing in its own hot air. The combination of the 2 should result in widespread temperatures of 35ºc+ across QLD with some parts of Central Australia going for 43ºc.

Note: This is a QLD oriented post. The heat is impacting large parts of Australia, however most of it is away from populated areas (such as Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Tasmania in general, Perth / Southern WA – all these places avoid it).

While Friday and Saturday will undoubtably be warmer than average across QLD with temperatures mainly sitting above 30ºc for most places and 35-40ºc through the West and North (temps sitting around 30-36ºc on Saturday through SEQ). It will be Sunday, Monday and Tuesday where the full force of the heat comes through.

Friday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

Friday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

Saturday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

Saturday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

SUNDAY: 

  • Coolish across South-East QLD (23-26ºc)
  • Warmer across the Darling Downs and Granite Belt (up to 30ºc)
  • Very warm across Southern Inland, Central Inland, Central Coastal and Northern Coastal QLD (30-36ºc)
  • Getting hot across the South-West, West, North-West, Northern Inland QLD – and even inland from Townsville/Bowen (35-41ºc)
Sunday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

Sunday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

MONDAY:

  • Warm across South-East QLD, Wide Bay, Darling Downs (27-32ºc)
  • Very warm across Northern/Central Coastal, Central Highlands (29-34ºc)
  • Very warm to hot across Southern Inland, South-West, Western, North-West, Central Inland, Northern Inland and Cape York Peninsula (35-42ºc)

Note: The cool change is forecast to move through Birdsville and the Far South-West by late morning, Thargomindah to Boulia by early afternoon and Cunnamulla to Mt Isa by the evening.

Monday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

Monday Temps. Image via BSCH/OCF

TUESDAY:

  • Mild across Southern Inland, South-West, Western and parts of Central QLD (remaining below 27ºc – 7-11ºc cooler than Monday). 
  • Very warm across South-East QLD, Wide Bay, Central Coast, Northern Coastal QLD (28-34ºc)
  • Very warm to hot across North-West, Northern Inland, Inland from Townsville / Bowen and Cape York Peninsula (36-42ºc).

Note: The cool change is forecast to move through Warwick, Barcaldine and Burketown by the early morning. Brisbane, Emerald, Richmond and the Gulf by the late morning and then the rest of QLD by the evening (apart from the direct Coastline between Hervey Bay and North QLD –  could be a hot night there)

Tuesday Temps.. Image via BSCH/OCF

Tuesday Temps.. Image via BSCH/OCF

Throughout this hotter spell, its unexpected that many (if any) storms occur due to a lack of moisture and overpowering of dry air in the atmosphere. There is a hint of something brief along the direct Coast during Tuesday – but this will have to be a wait and see process as timing for the cool change will be critical.