28 06, 2020

Big Sunrises and Sunsets Could Return to QLD!


It looks like there is a ‘chance’ of some big sunsets returning to QLD over the coming week – more so towards the end of the week as some favourable atmospheric conditions come together to produce the right setup on multiple days. Above image via HSC Admin Michelle.

Sunsets are one of those things that when they go off, they’re amazing – but from a forecasting perspective, the best of them either usually occur when conditions are on a knifes edge for being ‘epic’ or extremely underwhelming and this is because it often comes down purely to live conditions as the smallest hindering factor could change the outcome entirely. What we often look for is high level cloud (cirrus, cirrocumulus etc) that fills the sky but isn’t hindered by anything on the horizon. This will allow the bottom or underside of the cloud to be ignited when the sun is setting and the light has a free run between the horizon and the clouds. Any low level clouds can completely hinder this, and they don’t even need to be nearby – they can be 100s of km away. 

High cloud over Southern Inland QLD on Thursday morning. Image via Windy



This upcoming week though is showing good signs of producing the right conditions and it will just come down to the live conditions on the day as to whether or not one places sees a sea of red, orange, pink or yellow… and another place sees nothing. Models are indicating the arrival of a weak upper trough over Southern QLD on Wednesday night / Thursday morning which will help produce some localised high cloud over Southern Inland QLD (could be good for a Thursday morning sunrise). 

Upper cloud then spreads in bands across Inland QLD and Southern / Central QLD during Friday which may help produce a short lived, but intense sunset for Coastal areas and a more prolonged but possibly not quite as intense sunset over Inland areas. Saturday has some similar potential to Friday as well.

High cloud over various parts of QLD on Friday evening. Image via Windy.


The big one which we will monitor closely will be on Sunday evening and Monday morning when an upper trough across Southern and Western QLD and the Northern Territory produces a massive band of high cloud over the majority of the State. We have compiled a side by side view of the high cloud and low cloud which shows its virtually 100% high cloud and 0% low cloud and this may lead to numerous places seeing an amazing sunset on either Sunday night and/or on Monday morning (Jul 6).

Of course none of this is a guarantee, but it could be something to keep in the back of your mind from Wednesday through to the following Monday and hopefully one or two of the days can come off and offer some great photographic opportunities or a relaxing way to finish the work day or weekend!

High cloud (left), low cloud (right) across QLD on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Image via Windy.

Big Sunrises and Sunsets Could Return to QLD!2020-06-28T11:54:55+10:00
12 06, 2020

Coolest Pacific In 3 Years For The Rest Of 2020


Issued 12th June 2020. While the Indian Ocean does a positive backflip reducing the chance of rain across Australia, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has already cooled and is forecast to remain cooler than normal for the next 6 to 9 months. Its the first time in 3 years this has happened and it could be the Australia’s rainfall saviour for the rest of 2020 and even into 2021. Above image: Sea surface temperature anomalies for June to August via JAMSTEC. 

The Pacific Ocean ENSO between Australia and America is where the El Nino (warm water = dry) and La Nina (cool water = wet) climate driver develops. In 2010/11 a strong La Nina caused severe flooding across QLD, NSW and Victoria, sense then we have seen one of the strongest El Nino’s in 2015. Over the past 2 years the ENSO has been right on the El Nino temperature threshold but regardless it still delivered a severe blow to the Australian rainfall resulting in one of the worst droughts in living memory. Its a drought we are still in and suffering badly from. 

A majority of global models right now are forecasting the cooler than normal Pacific Ocean to continue with NEAR but not quiet reaching the La Nina threshold. It does not matter if it reaches the magic -0.5C or -0.8C La Nina level as model data is already suggesting increased Easterly trade winds across the Coral Sea with more moisture and near average rainfall across most of Australia for the next 6 months. Below image: 3.4 seas surface temp forecast via JAMSTEC. 

So stuff the Indian, watch the Pacific and think NEAR AVERAGE, NOT ABOVE AVERAGE rainfall for the rest of 2020. If most places can manage to get near average rainfall instead of the shitty severe drought conditions like last year, I’m sure we will be much happier. 
Oh and BTW Higgins Storm Chasing offers long range forecasts for QLD, NSW, the ACT and Victoria. Click here for more details on our website! 

Coolest Pacific In 3 Years For The Rest Of 20202020-06-12T11:07:47+10:00
12 06, 2020

Wet weekend for parts of QLD


Issued 12th June 2020. Forecast data remains confident that rain will come this weekend to Central, Southern and South East QLD. Above image: Rainfall forecast totals via

On Saturday a large high in the Tasman Sea will direct a moist onshore wind flow into the Eastern half of the state. Convective afternoon showers, isolated storms and rain areas are expected to develop through Central land Southern districts while persisting overnight. Below image: Saturday rainfall forecast totals via

During Sunday a cold front will enter Western districts enhancing a surface trough through the Central and Southern interior. Morning showers, rain and isolated storms are expected inland before travelling East to the coast during the afternoon. Below image: Sunday rainfall forecast totals via

Guidance is suggesting the heaviest falls will be across the South East on Sunday where widespread totals of 20mm are forecast. 
Higgins Storm Chasing provides detailed rainfall and thunderstorm maps across QLD with a zoomed map for SEQLD. Click here to check it out on our website! 

Wet weekend for parts of QLD2020-06-12T09:05:27+10:00
11 06, 2020

Indian Ocean Backflips – Less Rain For Australia


Issued 11th June 2020. Despite last months chanting across many News Media Outlets and BOM forecasts for a negative Indian Ocean Dipole causing a “Wet Winter” with above average rainfall across large parts of Australia, that has all changed! You see long range global forecast data during April and May are KNOWN to have poor accuracy… Now that has been proven as a completely opposite positive Indian Ocean Dipole develops turning the chances for above average rainfall across the country on their head. Above image: The latest JAMSTEC Indian Ocean sea surface temperature forecast for June – August 2020 showing a positive IOD event developing. Below image: The latest JAMSTEC model ensemble showing a positive IOD forecast from June – September 2020. 

It’s worth noting that at this stage the positive IOD is not forecast to be as strong as last years record event. But what does it all mean for Australia???
Right now the chances of 3 month above average rainfall for Winter have diminished right across the country. Model data is still hanging in there with mostly near average rainfall for the next 3 months which would be very welcome and way better than last year. However the Indian Ocean Dipole and Rainfall forecasts will have to be very closely monitored by forecasters over the next month for further significant changes! It is very possible that rainfall totals could be further reduced in the July to September outlook. It is going to be mean more difficult and riskier decisions for farmers and graziers looking make long term plans during such uncertain weather times ahead.
Temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across the Northern half of the country and near average across the Southern half. Below image via JAMSTEC. 
 Higgins Storm Chasing provides independant long range rainfall outlooks for QLD, NSW, the ACT and Victoria. We have updated our maps today to reflect some changes in the latest data. Due to being very conservative and cautious in our original rainfall outlook these changes have only been minor. 
Click here to learn more information about our Premium Membership Weather Service! 

Indian Ocean Backflips – Less Rain For Australia2020-06-11T12:59:47+10:00
10 06, 2020

Where is the snow?


Issued 10th June 2020. Despite an encouraging storm system delivering half a meter of snow in early May there is very little natural snow left on the ground across the Australian Alps ATM. Above image via Perisher web cam. Maximum temperatures through May and June have remained well into positive values averaging around 9C. This has caused any snow that has fallen so far to melt away quickly. This time last year a Winter storm produced over 70cms which really kick started the 2019 season. Below image showing 2019 V 2020 snow depths. 

 June is likely to remain almost snowless across the Alps due to a strong positive value SAM (Southern Annular Mode). SAM values and forecasts indicate the latitudes of low pressure systems from Antarctica and the South Pole. In a positive phase SAM, polar air masses stay well South of Australia while high pressure systems dominate the country. Forecasts for SAM only extend 15 days ahead though trends can be determined up to 30 days ahead. For the next 2 weeks models suggest SAM will stay positive meaning polar lows are less likely to reach Australia. Beyond that there is some hope at the very end of June where extended global models are forecasting a Winter storm across the Alps with up to 60cms on snow. Below image AAO / SAM forecast. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, during the past week freezing minimum temperatures have allowed resorts to make plenty of artificial snow! There is also ample opportunity left during July and August for the current Winter weather patterns to change. Lets hope there are a few BIG snow dumps this year. The other good news it that reports are OPEN for visitors under special Cover-19 policies. Please visit each Alpine resorts booking page for details, do not just turn up without booking first. Below image: Snow machines in action at Mt Hotham. 
Higgins storm chasing provides independent snow forecasts and maps across Victoria, NSW, the ACT and Southern QLD. Check out our website by clicking here for more information! 


Where is the snow?2020-06-10T15:33:16+10:00
10 06, 2020

Rain on the way for QLD


Issued 10th June 2020. After a very dry few months across inland parts of the state there is hope this weekend for some widespread rainfall. Above image via

On Wednesday and Thursday scattered showers and some possible isolated storm activity will be focused across the South East due to onshore winds and an upper level disturbance. A number of locations east of the ranges should record 10-20mm with locally higher falls to 50mm possible.

During the weekend a cold front and surface trough will start out producing showers and rain across across the Central and Southern inland before moving East to the coast on Sunday. Widespread totals of 10-20mm are forecast across Central and Southern districts across these 2 days. 

Detailed forecasts and maps for QLD and SEQLD are available by becoming a premium member of our website. Click here for more details… 


Rain on the way for QLD2020-06-10T11:38:52+10:00
20 05, 2020

Very Cold Temperatures Forecast for NSW Ranges


Issued Wednesday, May 20th 2020. Freezing conditions are expected to impact large parts of NSW and Victoria but more specifically the NSW Ranges including the Northern Tablelands, Central Tablelands and Snowy Mountains over the next several days.


A combination of strong to locally damaging South to South West winds, widespread cloud coverage, rain (and for some places snow) is expected to impact Eastern & North Eastern VIC as well as the Eastern half of NSW. These conditions will all combine to bring well below average temperatures to large parts of NSW, with the Ranges and elevated terrain being particularly vulnerable. While its normal for these kinds of systems to have an impact on the Snowy Mountains with maximum temperatures near or below 0 degrees leading to snow, with damaging winds dropping the feels like temperature to below -10 degrees, maybe even -15 or 20 degrees in the more extreme vigorous circumstances… the Central Tablelands and Northern Tablelands of NSW will be having their fair share with this system too.


Across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and possibly into Monday… temperatures are going to struggle to around 8-9 degrees across the Central Tablelands with locations like Orange, Oberon, Lithgow and the Jenolan Caves going for maximums on Friday and/or Saturday of 7 or 8 degrees and during this time, especially with snow around, the temperature will realistically be closer to 2, 3 or 4 degrees. 


Across the Northern Tablelands, between Friday and Monday.. Guyra is forecast to not exceed 10 degrees, with the coldest maximum being 8 degrees on Friday. Armidale is going for just 10 degrees on Friday with other areas struggling to reach double digits as well. Wind chill across these areas will likely make it feel between 4 and 8 degrees colder. Minimums across these areas as well will drop to below freezing on numerous mornings which will likely result in a very slow build up in temperatures. 

Maximum temperatures for Saturday across Eastern NSW. Image via


Very Cold Temperatures Forecast for NSW Ranges2020-05-20T16:25:19+10:00
19 05, 2020

COLD Temperatures Forecast Across MOST of QLD!


Issued Tuesday, May 19th 2020. Queensland is about to experience a significant burst of COLD weather over the period of Thursday until possibly next Monday or Tuesday with maximum temperatures up to 12-16ºc BELOW the May average! This cold weather will be felt as far North as Cairns and the Gulf of Carpentaria! Above image: Temperature anomaly on Saturday afternoon, showing temperatures of up to 16ºc colder than normal – via Tropicaltidbits. 



This abnormally cold period coming up is expected to be brought on by a unique combination of very cold conations down in Victoria and New South Wales which will be consistently driven into Queensland by relentless Southerly winds. These winds will combine with a series of upper level troughs which will provide the atmosphere with very cold air aloft, as well as several days of widespread showers and rain periods along with very thick cloud coverage which will limit any warmth from penetrating through to the surface. While the peak of the rainfall and thick cloud coverage will be confined to mostly Friday & Saturday – the lingering effects will still be felt beyond Saturday with temperatures taking a while to return back to even remotely near normal. 

Maximum temperatures across Queensland for Friday via – You can see widespread cold conditions amplified across Southern QLD with cool to cold conations extending into the Tropics.


Saturday overall is forecast to be the coldest day State-wide, but individual locations may experience slightly colder conditions on Friday or Sunday. There is a high chance that some temperatures may break cold records (for May) during this time. The kinds of temperatures we are looking at include:

South Eastern & Southern QLD:
• Stanthorpe: Maximums of 13ºc Friday & Sunday, 14ºc Saturday & Monday. 
• Toowoomba: Maximums of 14ºc Friday to Sunday.
• Charleville: Maximum of 14ºc on Friday, 16ºc on Saturday & Sunday.
Kingaroy: Maximum of 15ºc Saturday, 16ºc Friday & Sunday. 
• Roma & St George: Maximum of 15ºc on Friday, 17ºc on both Saturday & Sunday. 
• Warwick: Maximums of 16ºc Friday to Sunday. 
• Rockhampton: Maximum of 16ºc Saturday.
• Gladstone: Maximum of 18ºc Saturday. 
• Bundaberg: Maximum of 18ºc Saturday. 20-21ºc Friday & Sunday.
• Brisbane & Ipswich: Maximum of 19ºc on Saturday, 20ºc on Friday & Sunday. 

Central QLD:
• Emerald: Maximum of 15ºc on Saturday. 18ºc on Friday. 
• Moranbah: Maximum of 15ºc on Saturday.
Yeppoon: Maximum of 16ºc Saturday, 20ºc Friday, Sunday & Monday. 
• Charters Towers: Maximum of 17ºc on Saturday. 
• Mackay: Maximum of 19ºc on Saturday, 21ºc on Sunday & Monday.
• Longreach: Maximum of 18ºc Friday, 19ºc Saturday & Sunday. 
• Winton: Maximum of 19ºc Friday & Saturday.

Western QLD:
• Windorah: Maximum of 16ºc Friday. 18ºc Saturday & Sunday. 
• Birdsville: Maximum of 18ºc Friday & Saturday, 20ºc Sunday & Monday.
Mount Isa: Maximum of 20ºc or less from Thursday to Sunday.

Northern QLD:
• Townsville Range: Maximum of 18ºc on Saturday, 19ºc Sunday, 20ºc Friday & Monday.
• Cloncurry: Maximum of 19ºc on Friday, 20ºc on Saturday & Sunday. 
• Burketown: Maximum of 20ºc on Saturday. 
• Normanton: Maximum of 20ºc on Saturday.
• Townsville City: Maximum of 21ºc Saturday. 
• Kowanyama: Maximum of 22ºc on Saturday. 
• Mornington Island: Maximum of 22ºc on Saturday & Sunday. 
• Cairns: Maximum of 24ºc on Saturday & Monday. 

Maximum temperatures across Queensland for Saturday via – You can see the very cold air surging up into Central and parts of Northern QLD!


Following these cold maximums… minimum temperatures are also expected to plummet next week across large parts of the State as cold air lingers with drier air and clearer skies returning. This will allow for maximum heat to escape and is part of the reason why temperatures will gradually warm up during the day (less cloud). Some areas like the Granite Belt and Southern Darling Downs may see temperatures push freezing at night during the weekend as well, regardless of the increased cloud and some precipitation around. Snow is NOT forecast. 

Minimum temperatures across Queensland for Sunday morning via – The blue shading indicates temperatures cold enough for frost until ideal conditions.

COLD Temperatures Forecast Across MOST of QLD!2020-05-19T15:26:15+10:00
19 05, 2020

Low to Bring Severe Weather to NSW & Eastern VIC


Weather forecast models are coming into agreement about a complex severe weather system impacting NSW and Eastern VIC from late Wednesday into the weekend. This system is expected to feature heavy rain, snow, damaging winds, possible storms with waterspouts and dangerous surf conditions for a number of days. Above image 5-day rainfall accumulation via Windy



During late Wednesday and into early Thursday, a low pressure system is expected to develop off the NSW South Coast. Over the course of Thursday into Friday, this system is expected to intensify further into a POSSIBLE East Coast Low off the NSW Central Coast and its during this period of Wednesday to Friday that we will likely see the majority of the severe weather take place. The low itself is forecast to be quite complex, as its likely going to be a multi-centred low, which is a broad low pressure region with multiple centres of equal low pressure spread out within the broad area. The system will also see the majority of severe weather occur over the Westerns side, rather than circulating evenly around the entire system – even when it moves away from the Coast. 

Synoptic and Wind Gust Map for Friday across SE AUS showing the complex Low pressure region (blue circle) with embedded Eddies (pink circles), a cold front to the East (green line) and the North East to South East moisture draw (red lines) combined with the colder South West winds (blue lines). Image via Windy.



The most notable feature out of this system will be heavy rainfall along the NSW Central, Illawarra and South Coast areas initially with high levels of moisture being dragged across these areas resulting in continued rain areas. Models are indicating falls of 100mm+ are expected across areas over mostly the Illawarra which is a notorious hotspot for high rainfall totals with these kinds of setups. Moderate to locally heavy falls are possible as well over the Central Coast including Sydney, and the South Coast but rainfall across these areas should be less constant. This kind of rainfall will likely lead to some flash flooding along with some possible minor or moderate river & creek flooding depending exactly where the heaviest falls occur. Locally higher falls than those being forecast are also possible due to orographic lift. Storms will also be possible specifically on Thursday with increased wind shear created by the low leading to some storms either becoming stationary or slow moving with heavy rain and damaging winds, as well as waterspouts being possible offshore. During the weekend, rainfall is expected to increase with a Southerly wind flow over Eastern VIC leading to some moderate to locally heavy falls over the East Gippsland in excess of 50mm, and possibly up to 100mm. 


During Wednesday evening into Thursday, snow is expected to fall over the North East VIC Alps, the NSW Snowy Mountains & ACT Brindabella Ranges and Southern Wilderness areas. This snow should continue throughout Thursday and possibly linger into Friday with a new wave of cold air aloft moving across the region. Snow is also expected to fall over Thursday evening and Friday morning across the Central Tablelands with enough snow forecast to cover the ground. 

Strong winds are likely across the majority of VIC, ACT & NSW during this system’s existence. However across the Alpine regions, Central NSW Tablelands and NSW Central & Southern Coast areas, damaging winds are likely as well. This should lead to widespread wind gusts of 80-100km/h with peak gusts over exposed Coast areas and elevated terrain of 110km/h+. These winds will also combine with seas of 3-4m and peak wave heights of up to 6m over the NSW Central & Southern Coast areas to create unpleasant beach conditions. 

NSW & VIC Snow & Storm potential from Wednesday to Friday. Base image via Windy.


Low to Bring Severe Weather to NSW & Eastern VIC2020-05-19T12:11:38+10:00
25 04, 2020

Severe Weather LIKELY Across Eastern AUS to Finish April


This system is expected to be largely be focused over Wednesday (April 29) and Thursday (April 30) before lingering to a lesser degree into Friday and the weekend (May 1 to 3). This system will be impacting Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, ACT & Queensland to large extents and South Australia + the Northern Territory to lesser extents. Damaging winds, rapid temperature drops, severe storms with damaging winds & hail, heavy rain and snow will all feature. Dust will also be a feature with the front specifically.



These maps are temperatures at 700mb (about 3km about the surface) with surface-based wind stream lines. This combination is great for showcasing this upcoming system as you can definitively see the cold front (marked by the red line) with a massive cold pool surging in behind it. Ahead of the cold front, marked in the purple lines, is a warm North to North Westerly breeze which will create fine and sunny conditions with above to well above average temperatures for this time of year – behind the cold front though, marked in yellow – you can see cold South Westerly winds which will combine with moisture to produce showers, rain periods, snow, severe weather (associated mostly with the cold front) and a MASSIVE drop in temperatures.


Wednesday 700mb temp map + surface based wind stream lines showing the system. Image via Windy.


The most notable severe weather threat from this system will be widespread thunderstorms across Victoria, the ACT, NSW & Southern Inland QLD on Wednesday with storms pushing into North East NSW, Northern NSW & South East QLD on Thursday. During Wednesday, across Northern VIC, Southern & Central Inland NSW and possibly into Northern NSW – there will be strong wind shear – both with speed and direction – that will interact with these storms. This will create an increased risk of supercells and tornadoes across these areas (but more concisely focused over Southern & Central Inland NSW). Regardless of this threat, due to this mid level jet – most storms within the purple shaded area will be either moving fast and/or warned for damaging winds with microbursts being a possibility too. Hail will also feature in storms due to cold air aloft. These storms will move into South Eastern QLD & North Eastern NSW during Thursday where some cells may become severe fro damaging winds – but the overall threat will be lower than Wednesday due to some weakening with the mid level jet. There is a question mark at this stage due to the timing of the front, whether or not storms will reach the Coast in South East QLD.


Wednesday storm chances across NSW, VIC & ACT. Base image via Windy.


Thursday storm chances across SEQLD & NENSW. Base image via Windy.

Snow totals have been slashed big time from the previous post. However I believe that models just don’t have a good grasp on the snow yet as we often see totals exceed what models say (more often than we see them struggle with the timing of the coldest air and precipitation interacting). However, snow is still expected on the Snowy Mountains, Southern NSW Tablelands and Tasmanian Highlands with good falls expected over Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Central Tablelands are expecting some snow flurries on Thursday evening into Friday morning as well, and possibly a brief stint on Saturday morning with a narrow window of opportunity pending moisture.


10 day snowfall accumulation via Windy.

The Northern Tablelands are more unlikely than likely to see snow at this stage. Some very marginal precipitation is possible on global model data, but the timing looks off. You can see on Friday morning, the 850mb temps (around 1km above the ground) are sitting at 0ºc which is prefect… but the moisture profile is dry, like Sahara Desert dry… it could be more just bitterly cold rather than snow.


Friday morning 850mb temperatures & atmospheric sounding explaining why the NT’s may not see snow. Image via BSCH.

One of the promising things will be that this system looks to deliver widespread good rain across NSW with heavier falls over the Snowy Mountains and Central Tablelands, as well as some widespread moderate to heavy falls across the majority of VIC. Most of these areas have already seen an average to well above average month (April) in terms of rainfall, so to see 50-100mm and localised higher falls of up to 150mm around the Snowy Mountains is very promising as a follow up system. Most of this rain will come with the front on Wednesday and Thursday, but some follow up showers, mostly over VIC with the South Westerly flow are expected into the weekend. Unfortunately for Southern QLD and Northern NSW, while some rainfall is expected and it should impact most people – its on the lighter side of things due to the speed of the system and the distance from the moisture source (being the Bight).


Forecast 10 day rainfall accumulation via Windy / GFS for NSW, VIC, ACT & Southern QLD.

When we say impacts, this can sometimes mean ‘just’ temperatures, it doesn’t have to mean all. QLD is expected to see a MASSIVE temperature plummet between Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with temperatures dropping between 8 and 12ºc across these 3 days (for some it will be in just a 24hr period). For NSW, you only need to see the difference between Wednesday and Friday to know its going to be a massive drop. Some places are going for up to a 15ºc difference between the 2 days with locations sitting at around 25ºc on Wednesday and not even reaching the teens or even double digits on Friday. To add to this, the wind chill factor could lead to places like Orange with a maximum of 4ºc on Friday seeing a feels like temperature of -5 to -2ºc for most of the day. Even places closer to 10-14ºc may feel as cold as 0ºc thanks to the winds and this will include the Darling Downs and Granite Belt. The temps in SEQLD will drop into the low 20’s which is certainly warmer than the rest – but the winds will again make it feel more like 10-14ºc.


Maximum temperatures across QLD for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday via


Maximum temperatures across NSW, ACT & VIC for Wednesday and Friday via

Severe Weather LIKELY Across Eastern AUS to Finish April2020-04-25T11:17:47+10:00