CYCLONE OUTLOOK 2021/22

Cyclone season is starting very soon - with the approach of the build up and before you know it the season is underway, proper, from November through April.


But how many named systems are expected on current guide and where are the most likely areas of impact this coming season.


Of course, there is little skill in predicting landfall on any cyclone ahead of time, so I will give you a guide on the data as it stands on how many systems are expected in the waters around Australia.


We can have named systems on the board that can be weak junk type systems that bring a lot of rainfall and squally winds but don't do a lot of damage, but each season, especially over the west of the nation through the Indian Ocean, there are on average 2-3 cyclones that become major systems (Cat 3 or higher).


The Names 2021/22


  • Paddy

  • Ruby

  • Seth

  • Tiffany

  • Vernon

  • Anika

  • Billy

  • Charlotte

  • Darian

  • Ellie

  • Freddy

  • Gabrielle


Before you review below - a few points


  • Cyclone Season Forecasts this far out are based upon climate guidance, which changes from week to week so again, this forecast will refine over time.

  • Most of the time, the cyclones stay over open water (I call them fish storms) but still get counted as part of the season.

  • Not all cyclones that form hit the coastlines. In fact some years, only 1-2 can hit the coastal areas.

  • Steering currents over northern parts of Australia, especially north of the NT through to Cape York are highly complex and chaotic at times, influenced by weather further south over Australia as well as the monsoon over the region, to name a few influences.

Northern Region

  • Near normal activity expected throughout the region, though there might be a slight increase in tropical activity for the early part of the season.

  • This may increase the number of tropical disturbances, and a marginal increase of cyclone activity north of the NT is possible. But this is conditional.

  • These systems north of the NT generally move west and usually pick up strength in the Indian Ocean.

  • Cyclone Lam was the last decent sized system that developed in the region north of the NT.

Eastern Region

  • This region is the hardest region on earth to predict TC activity ahead of time, but the season looks to support a normal expression of tropical weather.

  • Above average convection early in the season may help form early season cyclone activity this season.

  • SSTs are well above normal through this region and it is expected to persist into Summer 2021/22. This may support stronger develop IF cyclones form.

  • TC Yasi was a cyclone that formed early in January and brought a big whack to the east coast and was one of the largest systems to hit the region in recent times. All it takes is one system.

Northwestern Region

  • The stronger cyclones generally form over in the Indian Ocean through the early part of the year between January to March.

  • These storms usually form over the Arafura/Timor Sea and then strengthen as they head west into the Indian Ocean.

  • However TC Tracy which formed in the Arafura Sea which was forecast to move west that infamous week of Christmas 1974, decided to turn and found a weakness in the steering current and came southeast.

  • Cyclones in this region can be very difficult to forecast ahead of time, another in recent times was TC Marcus that formed very close to Darwin and rapidly intensified nearby the city.

Western Region

  • Storms from the northern Indian Ocean generally move west and southwest and sometimes can be absorbed into the upper level northwest jet and be propelled towards the coast, especially late Summer into Autumn.

  • A good example of this is TC Seroja which came further south than normal. Another good example of this is TC Onslow and Vance.

A more detailed cyclone outlook will be posted next month as we get better data on the season ahead.

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