BE PREPARED: A wind-swept Airlie Beach after the Tropical Cyclone Dylan hit in 2014.
BE PREPARED: A wind-swept Airlie Beach after the Tropical Cyclone Dylan hit in 2014. Sharon Smallwood

Queensland in for five cyclones, flash flooding and rain

FIVE cyclones are likely to smash the east coast of Australia this season, two with the potential for winds of up to 224kmh, Higgins Storm Chasing has predicted.   

While only slightly above average, the numbers are likely to be more than last year which saw only three cyclones across the whole country and all under the severe category three ranking.   

Higgins Storm Chasing second in charge Thomas Hinterdorfer said along with cyclones, Queensland was in for a decent serving of rain, wind, flash flooding and severe storms over the summer period.  

"Last year it started off very active - in September we were seeing multiple storms a week, but when we got to Christmas, it totally died off and we only had a couple of storms between then and Easter," he said.   

2015 was Australia's fifth-warmest year on record with the annual mean temperature 0.84 degrees Celsius above average.   

The dryness was due to a heavy El Nino presence, meaning the atmosphere was a lot hotter and drier without enough moisture to trigger storms. But this season, her mate La Nina is already making herself known.   

"We believe there will be a fair bit of activity in terms of general storms with a lot of moisture around," Mr Hinterdorfer said.   

"We're on the border of a La Nina phase which will help a lot of moisture come into the atmosphere and trigger those general storms.  

"Our biggest threat this season will be damaging winds and heavy rain - a lot of the storms will be rain-based."  

He said in comparison to last season's dry spell, residents would feel as though the state was "getting smashed" this summer.   

"It will probably be on par with a normal year, so nothing too extreme, but definitely more activity than we saw last season," Mr Hinterdorfer said.   

Higgins Storm Chasing is predicting the early onset of monsoon season with some northern regions having already experienced downpours of up to 100mm in just a couple of hours, since early October.   

The state should also expect hail and some brief flash flooding.      



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