No cyclone but rain on the way

WITH a tropical low hovering off the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland residents are on cyclone watch – but a weather expert believes Bundaberg may miss out on all the action this year.

Long-range weather forecaster Haydon Walker said Bundaberg was unlikely to see a repeat of the wild weather brought by Cyclone Hamish in March last year.

But growers and gardeners need not despair, as he believed there would still be plenty of rain.

“There will not be much cyclonic activity in this part of the woods, but further up north, they are likely to get some in February,” Mr Walker predicted.

“Bundaberg will get reasonable rainfall though, particularly at the end of this month, and the middle and end of February.”

His advice echoed information given to the NewsMail in September, when New Zealand-based long-range forecaster Ken Ring predicted a depression in the Coral Sea around the end of February.

Mr Ring suggested there was a chance of the low-pressure system forming a cyclone, but it was more likely to be graded as a tropical depression as it drifted across the Coral Sea coast in the first week of March, bringing wet and windy weather.

According to Mr Ring’s calculations, more wet weather could be expected in the first week of April.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicted even odds that the rainfall for the Wide Bay area in the first quarter of the year would exceed 300mm – with a 75% chance it would top at least 200mm.

So far, the region has seen 68.6mm fall over eight wet days.

The wettest day was January 4, which saw a much-needed downpour boost the rain gauge by 29mm.

But while Bundaberg has been given the all-clear, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said there was still a “50/50 chance” the tropical low over the Gulf of Carpentaria could develop into a cyclone.

The system was expected to move eastwards across the peninsula overnight on Monday and may intensify over the Coral Sea before looping back towards the coast.

BoM senior forecaster Gavin Holcombe said the system could just as likely continue its eastward track, posing no threat to the coast.

There will not be much cyclonic activity Haydon Walker, BoM forecaster

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