Fewer cyclones but rain enters Katherine’s forecast

Fewer cyclones than usual are likely in the Top End this season, the Bureau of Meteorology said today.

And Katherine’s weather forecast has something unusual in it – the possibility of rain this week.

Only a slight chance of rain for Katherine, but we have not even had a 20 per cent hope of storms for months now.

Otherwise temperatures in Katherine will stay about 40 degrees for most of the week with maximum temperatures falling a little towards the end of the week.

The advice comes with today's release of the 2018-19 Tropical Cyclone Outlook.

The outlook shows fewer tropical cyclones than usual are likely in the Australian region this season.

However, Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Greg Browning stresses that all coastal communities in northern Australia can be impacted by a tropical cyclone.

"On average Australia sees 11 cyclones in its region in every season with 4 coastal crossings and we've never had a season on record without at least one cyclone crossing the coast," Mr Browning said.

"So, while this season's outlook suggests the potential for a slightly lower than average number of cyclones, the chances of a community being affected by a tropical cyclone remain high.

"And as many communities in northern Australia unfortunately know, it only takes one cyclone to cause widespread damage.

"Even cyclones that don't reach the coast can still have a significant impact through heavy rainfall, storm surges and large waves."

-          The outlook predicts slightly fewer tropical cyclones than average this year, which means we are likely to see two or three cyclones, of any intensity and size, form anywhere off the NT coast between November and April

-          Last year was an average tropical cyclone year, with 11 cyclones in Australian waters

-          Although we saw the average number of tropical cyclones last season, most Darwinites would agree, after experiencing Tropical Cyclone Marcus, that it was far from an average season

-          It's important to remember that a typical wet season brings significant impacts from all weather hazards across the entire Territory

-          Tropical cyclones bring damaging winds and storm surges, with heavy rainfall and flooding, but we also see widespread impacts including flooding and strong winds from tropical low systems and severe thunderstorms right across the NT

-          The Cyclone Outlook is calculated by taking into account the influence of various climate drivers which suggest a possible El Niño later this year

-          When Australia has been in an El Niño regime in the past, there have been fewer than average tropical cyclones in the Australian region

One of the key factors influencing the below-average outlook is neutral to weak El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

"During El Niño years the first cyclone to make landfall normally occurs around the second week of January, a few weeks later than normal.

"However, cyclone formation is rarely spread evenly throughout the season with quiet periods often followed by periods of higher activity.

"We've already seen an early season cyclone in the Fijian area of responsibility, the first recorded in September in their region."

While cyclones are one of the key concerns during the coming months, there are also the threats of bushfires, heatwaves, thunderstorms and flooding rain.

Based on current and predicted future conditions there is an increased likelihood of bushfire activity and heat waves throughout parts of eastern and southern Australia, while the chances of widespread flooding events are less likely. The risk of thunderstorm activity remains average.

"Australia's weather can change quickly and the best way to minimize the impacts is by being prepared."

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