Sun newspapers Wed 30 Oct 2013
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Region
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
2 Sun Newspapers WEDNESDAY, October 30, 2013. Find out more on page 3, the back cover or go to bunnings.com.au Well help you prepare for cyclone season KATE, TEAM MEMBER B B N T 3 2 3 8 Recounting tropical storms that bypassed NT WHILE no tropical cyclones directly affected the NT during the 2012-2013 wet season, three low pressure systems spawned in Territory waters that eventually developed into tropical cyclones near WA and Queensland, and another low pressure system brought late season heavy rainfall and flooding to parts of the Top End. Despite the lack of cyclones in the NT, the number of cyclones across the Australian region (10) was close to the long-term average (11). Late and short-lived Monsoon A monsoon trough first formed off Australias north coast from January 4, but remained offshore due to a high pressure area over the continent. A low pressure system developed within the trough in the Timor Sea and became tropical cyclone Narelle as it moved southwest off WAs northwest coast from the January 9-14. The onset of the North Australian Monsoon came on January 17, about three weeks later than usual, and did not last long across the Top End. By January 19, two low pressure systems had formed over northern Australia within the monsoon trough, one over eastern Australia that would eventually become tropical cyclone Oswald and the other over northwestern Australia that would eventually become tropical cyclone Peta. On January 21, tropical cyclone Oswald formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria and then made landfall on the western shores of the Cape York Peninsula. During the next week ex-tropical cyclone Oswald moved south along the Queensland coast bringing high winds and flooding rains to the area. In the meantime, on January 23, tropical cyclone Peta formed just off the northwest WA coast and tracked to the south west. With these two tropical systems to either side of the NT for the last week of January, the Top End experienced a lull in monsoon activity (scant rainfall, high temperatures) despite being under the influence of the monsoon trough. Tropical Low brings flooding over Easter During the last week of March, a slow moving, weak tropical low formed within the monsoon trough and moved along the north coast bringing heavy rainfall to most of the Top End (focused over the west) during the Easter holiday weekend (March 28-April 1). This last burst of heavy rainfall caused flood warnings to be issued for the Daly and Waterhouse Rivers and the closing of the Arnhem, Kakadu and Stuart Highways due to water over the road. Territory in for a battering More cyclones are forecast to hit the Territory than in past years. Outlook saying three big blows likely to form in north this season I TS greater odds than not that three cyclones will hit the Territory this season which is above average for recent years. The weather bureau says there is a 52 per cent chance a trio of big blows will form in the north but it admits past cyclone forecasts have been inaccurate. NT Weather Services manager Todd Smith said: This is more than weve seen recently, with only one cyclone forming in NT waters in each of the past two seasons. The outlook said: In an average year, the northern region sees two or three named storms and one or two tropical low-pressure systems that become cyclones after moving into the western or eastern regions. A relatively high number 75 per cent of tropical cyclones in the northern region impact the coast at some stage in their life cycle. The northern region does not have tendency towards above or below average tropical cyclone activity this season. But the northern region has the lowest number of cyclones forecast the west can expect seven, five have been predicted for the north-west, and four are on the cards for the east. Territory waters had one cyclone in each of the past two seasons. The outlook has been based on the neutral status of El Nino since July. In the absence of El Nino or La Nina, tropical cyclone numbers around Australia are most often close to average, the outlook said. The cyclone season starts on November 1 and ends on April 30. Mr Smith said: All the climate drivers are pointing towards a typical tropical cyclone season for Northern Australia this year. In a typical season, we usually see two to three cyclones form in NT waters, with at least one of those crossing the coast. The weather bureau has increased cyclone track map forecasts from 48 hours out to 72 hours to give more preparation time. Northern Territory Emergency Service acting director Michael Homden warned Territorians to prepare for the worst weather and also for three days after the worst had hit. Stay ahead of the weather with the Bureau online DID you know you can track cyclones on the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website 24 hours a day, seven days a week? BOMs tropical cyclonewebpage features an easy-to-understand graphic that summarises current cyclones. It also features information about cyclone climatology, past cyclones and thewarning service. Keep it bookmarked for easy access bom.gov.au/cyclone
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