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Monsoon and Wet Season

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 03, 2016

Monsoon and wet season

North Queensland has been in drought for over three years. They have had widespread storm activity over much of the inland, but there has been no blanket rain coverage as yet. So what are the chances for a monsoonal wet along Qld's tropical coast and what might be in store for the North Qld inland? Also what about cyclones? It seems to be all quiet on that front so far.

The Tropical Coast and Tablelands can plan for heavy rain In the first 10 days of March , as described in our Weather Almanac for Australia, or, for a cheaper version, in our Extreme Events Diary .

The rain should progress in March's second week to  Gulf Country (Burketown and Normanton) and Herbert/Lower Burdekin, and then to central Coast/WhitSundays about mid March.

However this year the monsoon season is expected to be light and cyclones weak, the result of following Cycle#24, a weak sunspot cycle, which passed its peak and began to lose strength in 2014. 

March: 

Cyclonic systems

March watch
Plenty of rain in Peninsular, Weipa and Dixie in the first half of March.
8th-11th: in Gulf of Carpentaria to the Gulf Country
29th-31st: in Solomon Islands moving to east Coral Sea, near Vanuatu, off Fraser and Sunshine coasts
For NT in February, 3rd-8th; a tropical low forms in the Gulf of Carpentaria
7th-8th: cyclonic potential in Gulf of Carpentaria, Mornington Island.
Heavier falls for some may be around 4th, 10th, 23rd and 31st.

April watch
1st: off Fraser and Sunshine Coasts
2nd-6th: a system forms around the Solomon Islands, moving to New Caledonia and to brush the Southeast coast of QLD by the 5th, before heading southeast into the Tasman Sea towards New Zealand
13th-16th: a system lingers in the far east of the Coral Sea
.
(Allow 1-3 day leeway for all forecasting).



NORTHERN TERRITORIES
7th Low pressure in the Gulf becomes a tropical cyclone.  Low pressure intensifies into cyclone intensity and drifts south towards the NT/QLD border.
8th Tropical cyclone turns to the southeast and crosses the coast southwest of Mornington Island QLD, then weakens into a rain depression and moves westward into the NT.  Chance of floods in the Gulf Country.
9th-10th Scattered thunderstorms Top End regions.
11th  Over the next 4 weeks the monsoon trough stays close to the north coast over the next fortnight before moving away to the north.  Monsoonal rainfall should be confined to the northern Top End with rain widespread in the Darwin-Daly and Arnhem districts.  Areas around Darwin receives well above average rain but Arnhem districts receive about average amounts.  Remaining parts of the Top End, Victoria River district and some parts of the Barkly and Roper-McArthur districts receive below average rain.  Most areas in the south receive below average rain except for a few areas in the southwest Alice Springs district where rain may be slightly above average.  Maximum and minimum temperatures may be generally above average over most of the Territory.  During this outlook period, Darwin can expect 15 rain days, 10 days when thunder may be heard but no days of strong gusts or fog.  Alice Springs can expect 1 rain day, but no days with strong gusts, thunder or frost.
11th-17th Monsoon trough stays over the Top End bringing patchy rain to areas adjacent to the Gulf.
12th Flood waters around Darwin suburbs may close roads. 
13th Thunderstorms in Darwin bring more flooding.
14th Storm water may affect plumbing in Darwin.
15th Thunderstorm at Casuarina.   
21st Scattered thunderstorms Top End regions.
22nd Flash flooding from a slow moving thunderstorm in Darwin.
24th-30th Monsoon trough moves to the Arafura Sea.

QUEENSLAND
1st-6th Isolated to scattered thunderstorms all districts.
2nd Flooding pockets Peninsula and Weipa districts.
4th-5th Flooding in parts of the Peninsula and Weipa districts.
5th-6th The monsoon trough, now across Cape York, may be producing widespread showers and scattered thunderstorms over the Peninsula and Northeast Coast districts and isolated thunderstorms in Central and Upper Western parts.
7th Isolated thunderstorms in the Lower Carpentaria.  
7th-8th Heavy rainfall for the Barron River.  Flooding possible in the Barron River catchment, Southeast Gulf, Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Cairns districts.
7th-17th Tropical cyclone crosses the coast in the Gulf, then weakens to a monsoon depression, then it moves into the NT before returning to the Gulf continuing widespread flooding rain about the southeast Gulf from early March through to the third week of March.
8th Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula and Lower Carpentaria, isolated Central districts.  
8th-10th New cyclone forming bringing major flooding in the Gulf rivers.  Tropical cyclone develops in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, crossing the coast west of Burketown bringing chance of heavy to flood rains about the southern Gulf districts.
9th Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula and Lower Carpentaria, isolated thunderstorms in the Lower Western.  Some flooding Lower Burdekin and Townsville districts.
9th-14th Minor to moderate flooding in Gulf Rivers and Gulf Country, Burketown and Normanton.
10th Cyclone weakens to a monsoon depression.  Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula and Lower Carpentaria, isolated East Darling Downs.  Some flooding in the Northwest and Mt Isa districts.
11th Widespread rain continues over the northern tropics with heavier falls about the Gulf and the Northwest.
12th Over the next four weeks an ex-tropical cyclone brings flooding rains to the southeast Gulf of Carpentaria over the next week.  This and coastal Peninsula, may be the only parts of the State to receive above average rainfall in this outlook period.  Another tropical cyclone around the end of March brings strong winds and heavy rainfall before drifting east and weakening to a depression at the end of the first week in April.  Strong winds and heavy swells may be experienced along the southeast coast, especially in the first week of April, as a further tropical cyclone nears the area.  Rainfall over most areas may be below normal, especially outside the tropics where many districts may be very much below average.  Maximum temperatures may be well above normal in districts outside the tropics and minimas may be higher over almost all the Interior sub-tropical areas.  During this outlook period, Brisbane can expect 6 rain days, no days of very strong gusts nor hail nor frosts, but 1 day when thunder may be heard.
7th-17th Tropical cyclone crosses the coast in the Gulf, then weakens to a monsoon depression, then it moves into the NT before returning to the Gulf continuing widespread flooding rain about the southeast Gulf from early March through to the third week of March.
11th Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula and Lower Carpentaria districts, isolated thunderstorms around the Darling Downs and Far Southwest.  
13th Flooding outbreaks possible around the Central Coast-Whitsundays and Mackay districts.
12th-20th Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula and Lower Carpentaria districts.
13th Isolated thunderstorms Western districts.  
14th Flooding possible for Burketown and Normanton.
15th Flooding around the Central Coast-Whitsundays and Mackay districts likely.
16th Showers and storms for the Southwest and southern border areas.  
16th Isolated thunderstorms around the Moreton and possible fog Port Curtis districts.
18th Scattered showers across the southeast with heavier falls near the Sunshine Coast and adjacent hinterland.  Isolated thunderstorms Central Highlands and Port Curtis districts. 
19th Showers along the sub-tropical east coast as monsoon trough drifts north to the Torres Strait.  
19th-20th Isolated thunderstorms in the Central Highlands, Moreton, Maranoa and Warrego districts.  
21st Isolated thunderstorms in the Southwest.
21st-26th Isolated thunderstorms on the Peninsula possible fog pockets in the Moreton.
23rd-25th Weak monsoon trough lies across the Torres Strait bringing scattered showers and isolated storms in tropical parts, with very hot conditions over the Interior. 
27th Isolated thunderstorms in the Moreton.
28th Trough from Mt Isa to Darling Downs brings isolated storms over the southern Interior and heavy falls from the Gold Coast to Fraser Island.  Extreme heat likely for Windorah.  Scattered thunderstorms Peninsula, Port Curtis, Moreton, East Darling Downs district.  Severe thunderstorms, flooding and gales Springbrook National Park and Harlin region.
28th-29th Extreme heat in the Central West and Northwest districts.
29th Scattered thunderstorms in the Moreton and East Darling Downs districts and isolated Lower Carpentaria.
30th Isolated thunderstorms in the Lower Carpentaria and Western districts and chance of fog pockets East Central Coast and Port Curtis districts.
31st Development of new tropical cyclone off the Fraser and Sunshine coasts spreading widespread rain and storms across most of the Cape.  The monsoon trough extends east into a tropical cyclone near Vanuatu.  


It all adds up to a fairly normal year rain-wise for North Queensland. The Northwest also gets rain in March.  The brunt of the wet season is expected to be over by mid March

For other extreme events throughout 2016 that you may wish to prepare to avoid or plan around, see either Weather Almanac for Australia, or the Extreme Events Diary


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