Tropical Cyclone seasonal outlook for The Coral Sea


Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Below average number of tropical cyclones expected for the Eastern Region this season, but a coastal crossing is always possible.

Issued at 1:52 pm EST on Monday 8 October 2018.

Below average number of tropical cyclones expected for Australia.

A below-average number of tropical cyclones are expected in the Australian region this season. The season, which runs from November to April, typically sees between 10 and 13 cyclones in Australian waters, with around four of these crossing the coast. Australia has always seen at least one tropical cyclone cross the coast each season.

This year's tropical cyclone outlook is influenced by likely weak El Nino conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

In El Nino years, the first tropical cyclone to make landfall over Australia typically occurs around the second week of January, a few weeks later than normal.

Tropical cyclones that do not make landfall can still have a significant impact on coastal communities, through heavy rainfall, storm surges, and large waves.

Summary of the Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook for the Eastern Region (ie. the Coral Sea and the Tasman Sea):

* On average, any tropical cyclone in the Eastern Region has a one in four chance of crossing the eastern Australian coastline.

* In an average season, the Eastern Region has around four tropical cyclones.

* For the 2018-19 season, there is a 40% chance of more tropical cyclones than average in the Eastern Region.

* History shows outlooks for the Eastern Region have low accuracy.

Although the tropical cyclone outlook indicates that there could be a below average number of tropical cyclones in the Eastern Region, past El Nino years have shown that severe tropical cyclones can make landfall about the Queensland east coast. During the 2009-10 El Nino, severe tropical cyclone Ului crossed the central Queensland coast and showed that it only takes one landfalling cyclone to cause significant impacts on the local community. Similarly, tropical cyclone Debbie was the only tropical cyclone for the Eastern Region in the 2016-17 season (a neutral ENSO year).

The release of the Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook for 2018-19 marks the start of severe weather public awareness campaigns for those in cyclone prone areas. Residents in northern coastal regions are being reminded to prepare now for the coming season, though this message is just as important for those about the remainder of the eastern Australian coastline as the impacts of tropical storms can extend beyond the tropics.

Further information: