• Tropical Cyclone Nathan spent a week in March 2015 slowly circling the Coral Sea east of the Great Barrier Reef off the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Bureau of Meteorology warns Queensland to prepare for severe weather over the upcoming tropical-cyclone season.
By
Andrea Booth

13 Oct 2015 - 12:30 PM  UPDATED 13 Oct 2015 - 12:31 PM

Dr Andrew Watkins from the Bureau of Meteorology said while fewer cyclones are expected between November 2015 and April 2016, the peak cyclone season, even one cyclone would be enough to cause significant damage.

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"We know from history the devastating effect even small cyclones have had on our communities," he told media. "In January 2013, [Cyclone] Oswald caused major flooding for virtually the entire Queensland coast as it tracked steadily south as an ex-tropical cyclone, or tropical low," he said.

The state is still reeling from Cyclone Marcia that battered Central Queensland in April 2015. The cyclone caused around $500 million in damage and disaster recovery efforts continue, the state government said Monday.

"Being prepared is important for all Queenslanders because disasters can strike anywhere at any time"

Tropical cyclones form over warm waters and are characterised by gale-force winds of 63 kilometres per hour or greater and gusts of 90 kilometres per hour or more occur near their centres, the bureau says. Offshore tropical cyclones can still impact coastal areas with high winds, storm surges and large waves.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders should prepare for other extreme weather events such as fires, floods and severe thunderstorms.

"Being prepared is important for all Queenslanders because disasters can strike anywhere at any time," Ms Palaszczuk said at the launch of RACQ Get Ready Week, which runs between 12 and 18 October in the effort to build communities' disaster-mitigation skills. 

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RACQ Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner said the state's motoring organisation urged people to familiarise themselves with safe disaster response measures.

"It is incredibly frustrating for emergency service workers and our traffic response units to see people thoughtlessly engaging in behaviour during storms which risks not only their lives, but those of their rescuers as well," he told media. 

Key tropical cyclone facts from Bureau of Meteorology

  • A less active Australian tropical cyclone season is expected between 1 November 2015 and 30 April 2016.

  • This outlook is driven by a strong El Niño which typically reduces the number of cyclones observed in the Australian region.

  • During El Niño seasons, the average date of the first tropical cyclone to cross the coast is the second week of January, which is later than during neutral years.

  • El Niño typically reduces the number of coastal crossings, but at least one tropical cyclone has crossed the Australian coast each cyclone season since reliable records began in the 1970s.

  • Northern Australian coastal regions should still prepare for the cyclone season