Fewer cyclones forecast this season

Cyclone outlook 2018-19 season


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FOUR cyclones are forecast to form in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast this season, with one predicted to make landfall.

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FOUR cyclones are forecast to form in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast this season, with one predicted to make landfall.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its tropical cyclone outlook for the 2018-19 season, which runs from November to April.

The Bureau is forecasting a less active season than average, due to the possible development of El Nino weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean and near average ocean temperatures to the north and east of Australia.

In the Eastern region, which takes in North Queensland, four cyclones are expected to form.

Of them, only one is expected to make landfall.

However, the Bureau has warned that the accuracy of their outlook for this region is low.

Throughout the Australian region, on average, there are 10 to 13 tropical cyclones each season, of which four typically cross the coast.

While El Niño typically reduces the number of coastal crossings, at least one tropical cyclone has crossed the Australian coast each season since reliable records began in the 1970s.

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."

During El Niño years, the first tropical cyclone to cross the coast is typically during the second week of January. This is generally later than other seasons, when the first cyclone landfall typically occurs in late December.

In the Northern region, which takes in the Northern Territory and the Gulf, three cyclones are likely to form in what will be an average season.

About three-quarters of cyclones in this region impact coastal areas, through the BOM warns their outlook accuracy for that region is very low.

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