And so it goes….late breaking news with Sandra Sully.
THE wet season will arrive right on time this summer, and cyclone activity and rainfall will be slightly more intense than expected, the weather bureau says.
Changing weather patterns in tropical waters have caused forecasters to rethink their outlook of the looming season.
Forecasters were anticipating a subdued and delayed wet season this year because weak El Nino conditions appeared to be forming at the end of winter, signalling drier than normal conditions ahead.
But the El Nino event has retreated in recent weeks and the bureau believes the Far North is no longer expecting a calmer wet this year.
“If the El Nino was staying around, we would’ve seen it consolidating around now, but instead we’re seeing the indicators moving away from El Nino thresholds,” bureau meteorologist Alicia Duncanson said.
“It means we’re now looking at an average season instead of the below-average season we were expecting.”
The cyclone outlook, released earlier this month, showed the Far North’s eastern coast could expect slightly below-average cyclone activity this year.
But the fading El Nino means cyclone activity will more likely be average, with up to five cyclones forming in the Coral Sea and one or two of them making landfall.
“In an El Nino year, you get cyclones but they would tend to remain off shore,” Ms Duncanson said.
During the past two years, the Far North has experienced La Nina weather events – the opposite of the dry El Nino pattern.
La Nina brought heavy rainfall during recent wet seasons, as well as cyclone Yasi in February last year.
An El Nino event has not been experienced since of 2009-10 and it has been six years since an El Nino was strong enough to cause low rainfall.