Queenslanders are being told to expect a summer of more extreme bushfires conditions and fewer cyclones than usual.
The Bureau of Meteorology has released its Severe Weather Season Outlook showing the country has an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires in the coming months.
Queensland and New South Wales has already suffered through one of the worst starts to the bushfire season in history and the Bureau of Meteorology’s State Manager Bruce Gunn said it’s likely it will only get worse.
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“Bushfires and early season heatwaves will likely be the main hazard in Queensland for the remainder of 2019, with isolated occurrences of the usual severe thunderstorms, particularly in the south-east,” Mr Gunn said.
“However, parts of Queensland will undoubtedly also experience major flooding or a tropical cyclone before the end of the 2019-2020 season.
“The projected absence of any strong climatic influence of El Nino or La Nina indicates an average to slightly below average number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region, but it only takes one cyclone to cross the coast for it to be a significant season.”
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford said the early and severe start to this year’s bushfire season was a timely reminder of the need to be prepared for the unexpected.
“Unfortunately, we may not have seen the worst. We are staring down the barrel of what could possibly be a prolonged and severe bushfire season, and we now have storm and cyclone season on the horizon too,” Mr Crawford said.
“QFES staff and volunteers are always ready to roll up their sleeves to protect communities, and we’re asking residents to join us by ensuring they are prepared as well.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also urged locals to get prepared for the severe weather season.
“In the past decade, Queensland had been impacted by more than 80 significant natural disaster events, resulting in tragic loss of life and more than $15.7 billion in damage to public infrastructure,” the Premier said.
“Last season we had catastrophic bushfires in central Queensland one month and unprecedented flooding in North Queensland the month after,” the Premier said.
“And most recently we’ve seen homes and businesses destroyed in the devastating bushfires in the Gold Coast hinterland, the Sunshine Coast, Stanthorpe and Laidley.
“The bushfire season started early this year and since September we’ve already seen 2000 fires in Queensland so if they haven’t already, Queenslanders should take steps now to protect what’s most important to them.”