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A near average cyclone system forecast

Property damage to a residence after Cyclone Yasi hits the North Queensland.
Property damage to a residence after Cyclone Yasi hits the North Queensland. Brenda Strong

A NEAR average tropical cyclone season is most likely for the Australian region this summer, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's tropical cyclone outlook.

With the Pacific Ocean in a neutral pattern (neither El Nino nor La Nina), there was no expected shift in either the average number or location of tropical cyclones.

The typical Australian tropical cyclone season runs November 1 to April 30.

Each season there was an average of 11 cyclones that developed in the Australian forecast region - of which, on average, four crossed the coastline.

For the eastern cyclone forecast region (eastern Queensland and the Coral Sea) the long-term seasonal average number of cyclones was four.

For the northern region (including the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Northern Territory) the long-term average was three.

Cyclones are rated on a scale of one to five, with five the most severe.

For a cyclone to be rated a category four, it would have wind gusts of 225-280kmh, an average maximum wind speed of 160-200kmh and an central pressure of about 930-955hPa.

Tropical Cyclone Tracey was a category four (Darwin 1974).

To be rated a category five, a cyclone would have wind gusts of more than 280kmh, an average maximum wind speed of more than 200kmh and a central pressure of less than 930hPa.

A category five cyclone would be extremely dangerous and cause widespread destruction.

Tropical Cyclone Yasi (February 2011) was the last significant cyclone to impact Queensland.

It crossed the coast between Cardwell and Innisfail in north Queensland, as a marginal category five cyclone, with estimated maximum wind gusts of 285kmh.

For more information on cyclones and updates on cyclone warnings for the coming season, see http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone.

Topics:  climate watch cyclones cyclone season dave mcrae


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