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.


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.

14 09, 2018

Super Typoon Mangkhut!

Super Typhoon Mangkhut update: 6:30am PHT 15th Sept 2018. The system is still travelling west across Northern Luzon with extreme heavy rain and damaging to destructive winds. Flash flooding and river flooding is also a very high risk. As Mangkhut continues to move west today severe weather conditions are forecast to ease (rain and winds) from around 6pm local PHT time this evening. Stay safe everyone it’s going to be a long day!

4:30am PHT 15th Sept 2018: Super Typhoon Mangkhut (category 5) has made landfall across Northern Luzon, Philippines with wind gusts of around 300km hr. Our thoughts are with people who will have experienced many hours of terror and destruction including Josh from iCyclone who managed to get into the eye wall. It may be many days before we here of reports from the area. Super Typhoon Mangkhut is forecast to continue heading West before slamming South East Asia (just West of Hong Kong) tomorrow (Sunday). Hong Kong may experience winds of 150km hr maybe even 200km hr from the system.

***IMMEDIATE LIFE THREATENING*** Super Typhoon Mangkhut update 10pm AEST 14/9/18: Landfall is now due in 6hrs or at around 2am Saturday 15th of September Phillipines local time. Northern Luzon brace for Super Typhoon (category 5) impacts tonight with very destructive wind gusts to 325km hr, extremely heavy rainfall leading to dangerous flash flooding and river flooding, dangerous storm surge with coastal inundation. Power, water and communications failure imminent. Taiwan and from Manila SOUTH are outside of the forecast Typhoon impact zone.
Stay safe everyone! Below image: NOAA

September 2018: Violent Super Typhoon Mangkhut (high category 5 system 905hpa) is heading directly towards Luzon Phillipines and is expected to make landfall during the early hours of September 15th 2018. Mangkhut contains wind gusts to an incredible 350km hr along with significant wave heights of 55 feet. Cover image: RAMMB/CIRA

This system poses a deadly threat to Northern Luzon and the nearby Northern islands with VERY destructive winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding and river flooding along with significant storm surge.  

VIDEO UPDATE 14/9/18: Violent Deadly Super Typhoon Mangkhut (High category 5 system) to directly impact Luzon, Philippines within 18hrs!

Posted by Higgins Storm Chasing on Thursday, 13 September 2018


14 09, 2018


September 2018: Major hurricane Florence impacted North and South Carlolina USA. The system produced life threatening hazards with severe storm surge, flooding and wind damage. Cover image: Alexander Gerst via the ISS. 

UPDATE 7:30AM AEST 15TH SEPT 2018: Hurricane Florence is now situated North of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and continuing on it’s slow track. Torrrential rain of 300-400mm has been observed near Morehead City with widespread falls of 150-250mm over large portions of the North Carolina Coast. A dangerous storm surge is continuing along the North Carolina Coast as well.

Image RadarScope

Mind Blowing destruction left from Hurricane Florence in New Bern, NC at first light.

Posted by WXChasing on Friday, 14 September 2018

VIDEO: Widespread and significant damage is being observed at first light over New Bern, North Carolina (North of Wilmington where Florence’s eye is now overhead)

UPDATE 8:10PM AEST 14TH SEPT 2018: Hurricane Florence is now officially making landfall between Surf City and Wilmington, North Carolina as a Category 1 system with 90mph winds. The system has already produced over 300mm of rain near Morehead City with waterspouts and tornado warnings also active. Significant storm surge impacts are being noted as well along the Coastline. Image RadarScope 


VIDEO UPDATE 14/9/18 AEST: Major Hurricane Florence is nearing the North Carolina US coast… listen to the incredible roar!

Posted by Higgins Storm Chasing on Thursday, 13 September 2018

13 09, 2018

Strongest Storm of 2018: Mangkhut heading for Philippines

Issued Thursday 9AM September 13th 2018. While all eyes are firmly watching Florence, Super Typhoon Mangkhut has entered a league of its own, becoming the strongest, most powerful and mesmerising tropical storm of 2018 as it heads for the Philippines and Southern China! Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.


The Western Pacific is notorious for producing mammoth typhoons and it looks like Super Typhoon Mangkhut will go down in history as one of those systems. Mangkhut is currently situated (at the time of this post) East of the Philippines with its outer bands about 18-24hrs away from impacting the Eastern Coastal regions of the Philippines. Mangkhut has been in a VERY favourable environment for VERY long time.. ever since it ran over Guam as a low end Typhoon in fact. The incredibly warm sea surface temperatures of 30ºc+, minimal vertical wind shear and an anticyclone overhead have allowed the system to ventilate perfectly and intensify into a beast with 155kt sustained winds (285km/h) and wind gusts to 190kts (350km/h). To put that into perspective, thats about 20% stronger than Yasi and a similar strength to Cyclone Winston which devastated Fiji and was rated #1 for the Southern Hemisphere all-time. 

JTWC Official Forecast Track as of Thursday morning AEST



Mangkhut is forecast by ALL global models to veer in a North Westerly direction in the next 18-30 hours and is LIKELY to make a landfall over the Northern tip of the Philippines. The current projected track places the system directly over the city of Tuguegarao which was nearly 100% damaged by Typhoon Lawin back in 2016. The catastrophically destructive winds are expected to be the main threat and its almost certain that if forecasts prevail and winds of 330km/h+ impact land areas, then ALL trees, ALL powerlines and the majority of building structures will be damaged or destroyed. This will cut roads and limit assistance greatly. Torrential rainfall is also likely and this could lead to landslides, mudslides and extensive flooding across the region which may isolated damaged communities for days. A powerful storm surge is also likely across the Northern Philippines and Luzon Strait Islands which may lead to significant beach erosion, significant beach flooding including complete building inundation. 

Forecast 5 day rainfall via Windy showing 300mm+ in white, 200mm+ in pink



After the Philippines are impacted, the system is expected to maintain powerful characteristics (probably not quite Super Typhoon strength though) as it enters the South China Sea. Models are in general agreement for now, that the system is expected to either directly hit Hong Kong or make a landfall between Hong Kong and the Island of Hainan, with winds in excess of 165km/h and further torrential rainfall likely.

Forecast positioning for Mangkhut on Sunday night (AEST) via Windy, showing the system between the Island of Hainan and the City of Hong Kong


12 09, 2018

Deadly Hurricane Florence Heading For United States

Issued Wednesday 9AM September 2018. Major Hurricane Florence is now likely to make a U.S landfall on Friday over North Carolina as a very powerful and catastrophic, life-threatening system. Above image via RAMMB / CIRA.



The last 24-36 hours for Florence has quickly shaped up into a worst case scenario situation for North Carolina and to a degree, South Carolina and the Virginia’s as well. Florence has undergone RAPID intensification after entering a near-perfect environment and quickly went from a Category 1 system to a strong Category 4 major hurricane in a matter of hours. Since then, Florence has remained in a favourable environment and is likely to do so until it makes landfall on Friday over North Carolina as either a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. Furthermore with the addition of EXTREME flooding and a life-threatening storm surge both being LIKELY, Florence is showing every sign of being an unprecedented, catastrophic and potentially even deadly disaster.


National Hurricane Center official forecast track map for Hurricane Florence showing a North Carolina landfall on Friday



Models have been juggling the landfall time around a little bit, but most are in agreement now for a Friday morning or early afternoon landfall over the Southern / Central Coastal North Carolina or extreme Northern Coastal parts of South Carolina (between Myrtle Beach and Morehead City). One of the big underlying problems with Florence which will only exacerbate the risk potential, is a building of the ridge to the West This build will mean Florence is LIKELY to slow down or even stall right on the Coast as its making landfall. This has lead to a dramatic increase in rainfall potential with all models going for 500mm+ over the North Carolina Coast and many going for isolated falls of 800-1000mm. This rainfall is expected to fall on an already saturated ground after heavy rain in recent weeks leading to catastrophic, life threatening flooding. This flooding not only has the potential to cause a massive risk to human life but could isolate communities for weeks and cause further problems once food and fresh water begin to run out.


Forecast Rainfall via EC Model (Windy) which is matching the National Hurricane Center for large areas of 500mm+ (white shading) and isolated falls of 800mm+


Outside of the rainfall, a life threatening storm surge is LIKELY across Coastal parts of North Carolina and through the Outer Banks. One promising sign is if the system does slow down on the Coast, then land interaction will quickly weaken it and limit the surge potential, regardless… models are going for a 12-15ft storm surge in some areas which would be second all-time to Hurricane Hazel in 1954 for the area and could change the geographic landscape of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The wind threat is likely to be catastrophic too, with Florence LIKELY to become the strongest hurricane to make landfall over North Carolina. Winds in excess of 250km/h are likely to significantly damage or destroy buildings, uproot large trees and down powerlines which could severely limit assistance in the aftermath of the system as emergency crews battle debris, lack of communications and  flooding to assist people.

Historically, systems even half the strength of Florence have been deadly to the region. Historically systems with half the rainfall of Florence have caused issues for up to a week anyway… History is screaming this won’t be pretty. People NEED to adhere to the evacuation alerts and seek safe ground NOW!


Storm Surge Warning (magenta), Storm Storm Watch (pink) for North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina via NHC


11 09, 2018

Olivia Eyeing Off Hawaii

Issued Tuesday September 11th 2018. Hurricane Olivia is also posing a threat in the Central Pacific as it bares down on Hawaii, adding to what has been a chaotic calendar year for the small islands. Above image – Simulated satellite imagery for Wednesday as Olivia makes a landfall over Hawaii.


Hurricane Olivia has definitely been ignored given the talk around other systems. Olivia though has been a steady system after it developed West of Mexico last week and rapidly developed into a Major Category 3 Hurricane. The system has then undergone a very slow and gradual weakening process whilst maintaining a West to North West track towards Hawaii. For some time now, models have been very stubborn with a landfall directly over the Hawaiian islands, and that stubbornness seems like its going to be accurate as most models including the official tracking by the National Hurricane Center place Olivia directly over the main islands during Wednesday morning local time.

Forecast winds via the US NAM model showing Olivia making a landfall over Hawaii on Wednesday morning. Image via Windy


Thankfully, what is now (at the time of this post) Hurricane Olivia, will weaken back to Tropical Storm strength due to a combination of a slightly unfavourable environment and geographic terrain. The system will pose a threat for damaging winds, but the main threat is expected to come from the rainfall where models are indicating falls of up to 100mm over the space of a 24hr period seeming likely for isolated areas. It doesn’t seem like much but locally heavier falls are possible courtesy of orographic lifting, and the fact its falling in a short period of time may lead to localised flash flooding and some land slips.

After Hawaii, Olivia will continue West and weaken into nothing by the weekend. 

Official Forecast Track for Olivia via the National Hurricane Center