Queensland in for an average cyclone season

QUEENSLAND can expect to see less cyclones this season, with the El Niño likely to decrease cyclone numbers across the country.

The Bureau of Meteorology says a less active tropical cyclone season is expected between November and April as the El Niño typically reduces the number of coastal crossings.

However, at least one tropical cyclone has crossed the Australian coast each cyclone season since reliable records began in the 1970s.


On average, there are around eleven tropical cyclones each season, four of which cross the coast. However, tropical cyclones can still significantly impact coastal communities even when cyclones remain well offshore.

BOM says the Eastern region is most likely to experience fewer tropical cyclones than average this season, with only a 27% chance of more than average; 73% chance of fewer than average.



Chance of more tropical cyclones for the 2015–16 season

Region Long-term* average number of tropical cyclones Chance of more tropical cyclones
Australian 11 9%
Western 7 25%
Northwestern sub-region 5 15%
Eastern 4 27%
Northern 3 36%

Despite expecting fewer cyclones this season, the Bureau’s Dr Andrew Watkins is urging Australians in the tropics to start their cyclone season preparations now.

“While El Niño is typically associated with fewer cyclones and a later start to the season, there has never been a cyclone season without at least one tropical cyclone crossing the Australia coast,” Dr Watkins said.

“We know from history the devastating effect even small cyclones have had on our communities,” he added, “In January 2013, Oswald caused major flooding for virtually the entire Queensland coast as it tracked steadily south as an ex-tropical cyclone, or tropical low.”

Tropical cyclones are low pressure systems that form over warm tropical waters and have at least gale force winds (sustained winds of 63 km/h and gusts of 90km/h or greater) near the centre.

Even tropical cyclones well offshore can have significant impacts on coastal areas. High winds, storm surges and large waves can create dangerous conditions.