Weather gurus warn of wild times

BATTEN down the hatches and get ready for a wild storm and cyclone season is the message meteorologists are sending to Bundaberg residents.

With the official storm season starting on November 1, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting up to six cyclones could develop.

Bureau regional director Jim Davidson said this was due to a La Nina climate phase, which is expected to bring above average rainfall across most of Queensland.

A bureau spokeswoman said while cyclones became less likely down south, Bundaberg was in an area that could still be affected.

“When a tropical cyclone makes landfall further north it still has significant impacts further south,” she said.

“The main impact of a tropical cyclone further south is flooding and severe thunderstorms in the Wide Bay and Bundaberg, with the possibility of large hailstorms and damaging wind gusts.”

Weather forecaster Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said it was impossible to predict where cyclones would go until they had formed.

Mr Dutschke said in years with similar climatic conditions to this year there had been as many as six or seven cyclones.

“Conditions at the moment are most similar to the late 1980s, and in 1989 we did get seven cyclones that formed in Australian waters,” he said.

Mr Dutschke said while it was a rarity for a cyclone to get as far south as Bundaberg the intensity of weather events was likely to be higher this season.

Bundaberg Regional Council disaster management officer Mal Churchill said residents should start preparing now for potentially damaging storms.

“People need to clean up their yards and make sure everything is tied down, and make sure they have an evacuation plan if they need to get out,” he said.

“If you plan to stay where you are make sure you are somewhere that is secure, and make sure you have plenty of food and water.”

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers executive officer Peter Peterson said farmers were aware all they could do was try to be prepared for anything the weather threw at them.

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