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Weather bureau predicts more cyclones as La Nina arrives

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The Bureau of Meteorology expects an average of 11 tropical cyclones for the upcoming season in Australia, which starts next month and finishes in April.

In an outlook released today the bureau says there is a 66% chance of more cyclones and that it expects an average to slightly-above-average number of storms to form during the period.

Australia usually has 9-11 cyclones on average each season, four of which typically cross the coast. But La Nina conditions mean the number of tropical flows that could potentially develop has increased compared to normal years.

The bureau last month declared the first active La Nina since the 2010-2012 event, when insurance catastrophes were triggered due to Tropical Cyclone Yasi and the Brisbane floods.

“The number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region is generally higher with La Nina,” the bureau says. “All surveyed climate models suggest ocean temperatures will remain at La Nina levels until early 2021.”

In La Nina years the first cyclone to develop typically occurs earlier than normal, around mid-December. During average years, the date of the first tropical cyclone to make landfall over Australia is typically in early January.

The bureau says eastern Australia, which covers Queensland, has a 67% chance of more cyclones with an average of four storms expected. For the northern region there is a 57% likelihood of more cyclones with an average of three storms on the cards.