Active cyclone season forecast for North Queensland

Cyclone outlook 2020-2021 season

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Four cyclones are expected to form in the Coral Sea this season in what is expected to be an above average season for tropical cyclones.

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A more active cyclone season is forecast in the north this year.

A more active cyclone season is forecast in the north this year.

FOUR cyclones are expected to form in the Coral Sea this season in what is expected to be an above average season for tropical cyclones.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its tropical cyclone outlook for the 2020-21 season, which runs from November to April.

The Bureau said La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean and average to warmer-than-average ocean temperatures to the north of Australia had influenced this year's tropical cyclone outlook.

In La Nina years, the first cyclone to develop across the Australian region typically occurs in the middle of December, while in average years the first cyclone to make landfall is typically in early January.

In the eastern region, which takes in North Queensland, there is a 67 per cent chance of more cyclones than average.

Four cyclones are expected to form with at least one to make landfall, but the Bureau warns the outlook accuracy for the region is low.

In the northern region, which takes in the Gulf and Northern Territory, the BoM is forecasting a near average season, with two or three cyclones to form. About three-quarters of cyclones in the region impact coastal areas.

While there has been a decline in the number of cyclones in Australia in recent decades, Bureau climatologist Greg Browning said this summer was likely to buck that trend.

"On average Australia sees nine to 11 tropical cyclones each year, with four crossing the coast," Mr Browning said.

"With La Nina this year we are expecting to see slightly more tropical cyclones than average, and the first one may arrive earlier than normal.

"Every northern wet season has had at least one tropical cyclone cross the Australian coast, so we can never be complacent.

"We know that cyclones can develop at any time throughout the tropical cyclone season, which runs from November to April.

"This means that communities right across northern Australia need to stay be prepared now, and stay informed from the very start of the tropical cyclone season in October, right though until April."

At least one tropical cyclone has crossed the Australian coast each season since reliable records began in the 1970s.

The BoM said cyclone formation is rarely spread evenly throughout the season, which quite periods often followed by bursts of activity.

The La Nina was declared on September 29, and ocean temperatures are expected to remain elevated until early 2021.

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