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Old 20-11-2014   #191
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El Nino closer, but Australia already experiencing dry conditions

Australia is facing the prospect of more bushfires this season, as the weather bureau puts us on El Nino alert.

The Bureau of Meteorology announced there was at least a 70 per cent chance of El Nino occurring.

The Bureau said the Pacific Ocean has shown "some renewed signs of El Nino development in recent weeks", prompting them to upgrade their ENSO Tracker Status from watch to alert.

Climatologist Professor Roger Stone from the University of Southern Queensland and the UN World Meteorological Organisation, said the impact of a possible El Nino depends very much on where you are in Australia.

"The southern states, especially Victoria, Tasmania, southern New South Wales and... south-west Western Australia tend to have an increased bushfire risk," he said.

"These tend to be our worst bushfire summers, and that extends just about everywhere away from the tropics. If you're in the tropics or northern Australia, the characteristic impact is a delay to the onset of the wet season."

While El Nino isn't the only system that affects our climate - there are about 12 other climate systems that also play a part ?? Professor Stone said it is probably the most important.

And with El Nino developing over the last six months or so, it's already had an impact on a lot of Australia, he said.

"We've already dried out over most of eastern Australia."

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre has updated their Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for 2014-15, for many parts of eastern Australia.

However, the relationship between El Nino and drought isn't necessarily always so straightforward.

"It depends on where you are again," said Professor Stone. "There are some parts of Queensland, central inland Queensland, that have had very little rain for the last two years before we've gone into the El Nino developmental stage due to other factors."

"So for those folk there's some obviously very severe and serious issues ahead, particularly if this El Nino lasts longer than normal, which it may do.

"Other areas that have had reasonable winter rain and have some stored subsoil moisture in agriculture may not fare too badly.

"I would suggest central Queensland and parts of western New South Wales, because of other factors up till now, are looking quite severe for some time."

Professor Stone's advice to the general public is to be prepared for the hot, dry conditions and the bushfire season.

"These can be some of our worst bushfire periods so I imagine the state emergency services and the bushfire management people would be aware of that already, but I think for the general public to be prepared and forewarned is forearmed as they say," he said.

"On a brighter note perhaps, these types of summers tend to reduce the total number of tropical cyclones, except up in the north west of Western Australia."

"But I think the story for summer is going to be preparing for a very hot summer which might be good for tourists, but otherwise for the rest of us it's that increased bushfire and grass fire risk, and increased temperatures on top of that which will exacerbate the problem."


- ABC
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Old 19-02-2015   #192
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Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Storm due to hit Queensland as category five system

Tropical Cyclone Marcia is continuing to rapidly intensify and is due to make landfall as a category five system on Friday morning.

The category four cyclone looms about 150 kilometres off the coast and is due to hit land between Mackay and Gladstone, near St Lawrence, about 8:00am.

A very destructive central core, spanning less than 100 kilometres, would generate gusts up to 295 kilometres an hour, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hoped the cyclone would cross in a remote area.

"That is the indication at the moment, but anything can change here," she said.

A cyclone watch has been issued for areas between Bundaberg and Double Island Point, extending inland to include Mundubbera, Gayndah, and Murgon.
For live updates on Queensland's weather emergency, go to our blog.

Destructive winds are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Burnett Heads tonight.

Gales are now beginning to occur about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend north to Bowen later this evening and inland to areas including Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, and Monto overnight and Friday.

Isaac Regional Shire Mayor Anne Baker said the cyclone was due to make landfall near St Lawrence, which was in her area.

She said an evacuation centre had been set up at Sarina.

"We are strongly advising coastal residents to self evacuate," she told 612 ABC Brisbane.

"It has been 25 years since we have seen anything of this calibre."

Warning zone Watch zone Range of likely tracks of cyclone centre


The Whitsunday Islands are in lockdown and many regional airports are due to close this evening.

Elective surgery, specialist outpatient visits and pre-admission clinics at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service also have been cancelled for Friday.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queenslanders would need to be prepared now and not panic.

"This is a serious event," she said.

"It has changed drastically since this morning."

Cyclone Marcia was originally due to make landfall in the very early hours of Friday, but it has slowed as it built in intensity.

The cyclone developed quicker than usual, going from category two at 11:00am to a category four at 6:00pm.

Yeppoon cyclone shelter manager Robert Ferguson said most houses built after 1980 were safe, but the shelter was open for anyone who was worried.

"It [the shelter] can withstand a category five cyclone, no problem," he said.

"This is a place for last resort for people who don't have anywhere to go."

Torrential rain forecast

Heavy rain may lead to flash flooding, with some 24 hour totals expected in excess of 300 millimetres on the coast and nearby ranges.

Mr Webb said the cyclone would dump between 200 millimetres and 300 millimetres of rain.

"Those falls up to 500 millimetres or more are possible," he said.

A flood watch is current for the Wide Bay and Burnett, south-east coast and the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts.

More than 200 swift water rescue officers have been sent to flood-prone areas.

Abnormally high tides will be experienced today and Friday with water levels expected to rise above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.

Residents between Mackay and Double Island have been warned of the potential for a dangerous storm tide.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the city's northern beaches were likely to bear the brunt of the big seas and erosion.

Closures were expected to be in place for several days.

"From Main Beach, Surfers Paradise all the way to Nobbys is where it's going to be hit the hardest," Cr Tate said.


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Old 19-02-2015   #193
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and not to be outdone by Queensland ----

Tropical Cyclone Lam: 430 evacuated from Goulburn Island; storm expected to reach category four


Hundreds of people from the Aboriginal community of Warruwi have been evacuated to Darwin on helicopters and planes, as Tropical Cyclone Lam strengthens and heads towards the Northern Territory mainland.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has advised it expects the cyclone, currently a category three system, will strengthen to a category four as it crosses the NT's mainland coast between Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak early on Friday morning.

Forecaster Ben Suter said Elcho Island was currently bearing the brunt of the cyclone.

"Residents should be bunkered down in safe housing at the moment." he said.

"The next concern is, as the cyclone moves closer to land on the south-west trajectory and then mainland, locations and communities between Milingimbi and Elcho Island will be next in line as we move into the overnight period."

A man in a cyclone shelter on Elcho Island said he could feel the sturdy building vibrating in the gale force winds at 6:00pm (CST).

David Collins said he had seen the wind tearing trees from the root and throwing them 100 metres.

The mood in the shelter was panicked, he said, with the power cut about 5:30pm and concerns there would not be enough food and water to last through the cyclone.

He said he had heard a friend's roof was missing and the main store was also damaged.

Up to 5,000 people in remote Arnhem Land Indigenous communities have so far been directly affected by the cyclone, authorities have said.

Warruwi, which is the largest community on South Goulburn Island, is in line to be hit hard by Cyclone Lam, which early Thursday changed course and began heading south-west towards land.

"A siren went off in Warruwi and then we all had to muster down to the hall," a teacher at Warruwi, Bernice Gavenlock, said after she arrived in Darwin.


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Tropical Cyclone Lam: 430 evacuated from Goulburn Island; storm expected to reach category four



Hundreds of people from the Aboriginal community of Warruwi have been evacuated to Darwin on helicopters and planes, as Tropical Cyclone Lam strengthens and heads towards the Northern Territory mainland.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has advised it expects the cyclone, currently a category three system, will strengthen to a category four as it crosses the NT's mainland coast between Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak early on Friday morning.

Forecaster Ben Suter said Elcho Island was currently bearing the brunt of the cyclone.

"Residents should be bunkered down in safe housing at the moment." he said.

"The next concern is, as the cyclone moves closer to land on the south-west trajectory and then mainland, locations and communities between Milingimbi and Elcho Island will be next in line as we move into the overnight period."

A man in a cyclone shelter on Elcho Island said he could feel the sturdy building vibrating in the gale force winds at 6:00pm (CST).

David Collins said he had seen the wind tearing trees from the root and throwing them 100 metres.

The mood in the shelter was panicked, he said, with the power cut about 5:30pm and concerns there would not be enough food and water to last through the cyclone.

He said he had heard a friend's roof was missing and the main store was also damaged.

Up to 5,000 people in remote Arnhem Land Indigenous communities have so far been directly affected by the cyclone, authorities have said.

Warruwi, which is the largest community on South Goulburn Island, is in line to be hit hard by Cyclone Lam, which early Thursday changed course and began heading south-west towards land.

"A siren went off in Warruwi and then we all had to muster down to the hall," a teacher at Warruwi, Bernice Gavenlock, said after she arrived in Darwin.

"We were then put into groups and put onto a plane and flown out here.

"They had to get us off the island by 12 o'clock because of the weather coming in."

More than 430 people have been evacuated from Goulburn Island to Darwin showgrounds, where they have been temporarily housed, according to Acting Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw.

He said 11 people remained on the ground in Warrtuwi.

He said there was sufficient shelter and authorities had decided not to evacuate residents from Elcho Island, which the BoM predicted would be hit by winds of up to 220kph on Thursday afternoon.

"There is built-to-code premises and shelters in those communities," Acting Commissioner Kershaw said.

"They are able to sustain and shelter people from a category three, which is as per the code."

At 5:00pm CST on Thursday BoM reported the cyclone was 30km north of Galawinku and 140 km west north-west of Nhulunbuy, about 600km east of Darwin.

It was gusting at 205kph and moving south-west at 10kph.

In the early hours of Thursday morning the category three storm had altered its westerly course and began moving south-south-west.

The cyclone was expected to make landfall on the coast near Elcho Island overnight on Thursday or early Friday, before weakening once it was over land.


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Old 27-08-2015   #194
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Sydney dam spills as flood clean-up continues



Sydney's giant Warragamba Dam is spilling for the first time since 2013, in the wake of days of heavy rain in the region.

Authorities have warned of flooding in low-lying areas near the dam but don't expect any homes to be at risk.

Residents south of Sydney are still waiting to return to their flood-affected homes after the wild weather.

Emergency crews have warned locals in the city's south and west they may find roads and bridges cut off.

The dam, about 70km west of Sydney, is the largest urban water storage in Australia, supplying about 80% of the Sydney region's drinking water.

The Bureau of Meteorology said most of the dam's spill would happen on Thursday afternoon and early evening.

"We don't anticipant any properties to be flooded," the bureau's Gordon McKay told the BBC, but adding that low-lying farmland was at risk.


More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-34070257


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Old 31-08-2015   #195
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Melbourne shivers through coldest winter in 26 years

If you thought Melbourne's winter was colder than usual, you are not wrong.

It was the coldest winter in terms of maximum temperature in Melbourne for 26 years, the Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed.

The maximum winter temperature was just under 14C for the first time since 1989, about 1 degree Celsius lower than normal.

But that one degree made a big difference, said senior meteorologist Richard Carlyon from the weather bureau.

"It doesn't sound much, but in winter that's a big difference, because it's an average," he said.

"In summer, temperatures vary more than in the winter.

"[In the winter] we don't see too much variation. [It's] normally 9-15 degrees, so a departure from the average is never as great.

It was also drier than normal, despite a higher than average number of rain days.

"Actual rain in Melbourne was below average, but in terms of number of rain days, we had a higher than average number of days," he said.

He said there were a lot of days with light rainfall that did not add up to much in total.

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