Weekly Tropical Climate Note

Severe tropical cyclone Trevor over Cape York Peninsula

Severe tropical cyclone (TC) Trevor is expected to cross Queensland's east coast, south of the Lockhart River, later today (19 March). Trevor continues to intensify as it moves west-southwest towards Cape York Peninsula and will likely cross the coast as a category 3 or 4 system. Very destructive winds and abnormally high tides will accompany Trevor over the eastern Cape York Peninsula, and heavy rainfall—which may lead to flash flooding—is forecast for far north Queensland over the next few days.

Severe TC Trevor will weaken as it crosses Cape York Peninsula but is expected to re-intensify once over the Gulf of Carpentaria. Trevor reached category 1 intensity early Monday 18 March in the Coral Sea and rapidly intensified to a category 2 system.

For the latest tropical cyclone advice and track map, go to the Bureau's Current Tropical Cyclones.

Another tropical cyclone brewing off northwest Australia

A tropical low, north of Western Australia's Kimberley, is forecast to track west-southwest over the next few days and is likely to develop into a cyclone either Wednesday or Thursday. There is potential for the system to impact the Pilbara coast later in the week.

See the latest Tropical Cyclone Outlook for the Western Region.

Savannah heads west

TC Savannah formed on 14 March and moved south-southwest, passing to the west of Cocos Island. Savannah intensified into a category 4 system on 17 March, continues to track southwest through the Indian Ocean, and is unlikely to recurve to the east.

Chance for monsoon over the Northern Territory

The foci for cloud and rainfall over the Australian tropics currently are Severe TC Trevor to the northeast, and the developing low off the northwest. The monsoon trough is present in those areas but has broken down north of the Northern Territory (NT). Mostly clear skies over the Northern Territories central districts means the unusually warm and dry weather continues in those parts for the beginning of the week. Rabbit Flat (in the NT) broke the Australian record for consecutive days over 39 °C, which now stands at 109 days and counting. Further north, Darwin's 2018-19 wet season total is currently tracking as the second lowest rainfall-to-date on record. Darwin needs more than 137 mm by the end of April to avoid its driest wet season on record. However, as TC Trevor moves towards the Northern Territory it will bring heavy rainfall with it, and there is an increased chance the monsoon will develop over the Top End.

The tropics over the Maritime Continent are very active at the moment, with convective troughs, active Rossby Waves and a few tropical lows. As the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) progressed eastward into the Maritime Continent region at the end of last week its signal weakened and became indiscernible amongst the other influences. International climate models agree that the MJO will remain indiscernible this coming week. As such, it is unlikely that the MJO will be a driving influence of tropical weather during this time.

Read more about the Bureau's current MJO monitoring.


The El Niño–Southern Oscillation(ENSO) is currently neutral, however the Bureau's ENSO Outlook has been raised to El Niño ALERT. This means there is approximately a 70% chance of El Niño developing in the coming months, around triple the normal likelihood. El Niño ALERT is not a guarantee that El Niño will occur; it is an indication that some of the typical precursors of an event are in place.

See today's ENSO Wrap-Up for all the details.

Product code: IDCKGEW000

Further information

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