10 May 2023

Cyclone watch: Cape told to prepare for wild weather

| Matt Nicholls
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CAPE York residents should be on weather watch this week as the wet season finally kicks into gear.

There’s even a small chance of a cyclone forming in the Gulf of Carpentaria, although the Bureau of Meteorology is not yet making that prediction.

“A trough is expected to develop across the eastern Arafura Sea and northern Gulf of Carpentaria from Tuesday onwards,” the BoM said.

“It is expected to extend across Cape York Peninsula to the Coral Sea region. A tropical low may develop along the trough later in the week or by the weekend.

“The environmental conditions are marginally favourable for tropical cyclone development.”

Meteorologist Livio Regano said the Bureau was only willing to declare the potential development of a tropical low.

“It could be a strong system and things could change later in the week,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“There’s a big trough strewn across North Queensland which is very active at the moment.

“It’s almost monsoon-like but it isn’t a monsoon.

“In a true monsoon, you get tropical winds from across the equator, down from Indonesia.

“We don’t have those winds at the moment.”

Mr Regano said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a busy tropical season, given the conditions.

“The water temperature in the Gulf and the Coral Sea is smoking hot right now,” he said.

“Most of the Gulf is between 30 and 31 degrees, which is about as hot as it gets. It can’t really get much warmer.

“That’s fairly typical for a La Nina period.”

Cyclones don’t form in North Queensland until the water temperatures reached 26.5 degrees, Mr Regano said.

“The outlook for the Australian tropical cyclone season is for an above-average amount of cyclones,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean much to the average person because sometimes that forecast is wrong. But what it means is that in the past when we’ve had these type of conditions we’ve had an increased amount of cyclones in Australia.

“The only thing I can say with any kind of certainty is that parts of Cape York Peninsula will get some good rain this week.

“If a storm misses you, don’t worry because another one is coming.”

Weipa Town Authority chair Michael Rowland said it was a good time for local residents to think about their homes and to update their cyclone kits and plans.

“There’s some really good information on the WTA website, with links to the Queensland Get Ready site as well,” he said.

“The Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance also has a new Disaster Dashboard which has important information for locals and visitors.”

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