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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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!