BoM reveals disaster outlook

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Australia faces elevated risks of natural disasters over the coming months, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

The agency has revealed its Severe Weather Outlook for the months ahead, reporting an elevated risk of bushfires and heatwaves.

“Bushfire potential is high in many parts of the country, including around most major cities,” meteorologist, Adam Morgan, said. “Vegetation is drier than usual across many areas and early season fires have already occurred in New South Wales and Queensland.”

However, the risk of widespread flooding has reduced for the coming months, the BoM found, thanks to a benign winter. BOM records show that Australia has experienced its lowest level of winter rainfall since the 2002 El Niño year while maximum temperatures were the warmest since records began in 1910.

In addition, in its annual Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook, the agency said that while a typical number of cyclones are expected during the season, from November to April, it is likely that numbers could be above average.

“On average, there are 10-13 tropical cyclones each season in the Australian region, four of which typically cross the coast,” the report states. “Outlook accuracy for the Australian region is high.”

The eastern region, which takes in the entirety of the east coast of the country, has a 54% chance of being hit by more than its long-term average of four tropical cyclones, the report noted. The Northwestern subregion, meanwhile, has the highest likelihood of breaking its long-term average of five tropical cyclones with a 56% chance of more than average activity.

Morgan said that the cyclone trend points to an average year for most areas but urged communities in the north of the country to “actively prepare.” He noted that if the region edges “further toward La Niña, the chance of having more tropical cyclone activity than normal will increase.”

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