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BOM forecasts quieter cyclone season

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Australia can expect a below-average tropical cyclone season, the Bureau of Meteorology says in its annual outlook released today.

The possible development of an El Nino system in the tropical Pacific Ocean and near-average ocean temperatures to the north and east have influenced the severe weather outlook.

El Nino usually reduces the number of cyclone coastal crossings, the bureau says.

There are 10-13 tropical cyclones on average each season, and four typically cross the coast.

“Remember, though, Australia has never had a tropical cyclone season without a cyclone crossing the coast, and cyclones are rarely evenly spread across the season,” bureau meteorologist Adam Morgan said.

“What the seasonal outlook can’t predict is the size, intensity or exact location of where a cyclone may form.”

The eastern region, including Queensland and NSW, can expect a below-average season, with a 60% chance of fewer tropical cyclones than average and a 40% likelihood of more.

About one-quarter of tropical cyclones in the eastern region make landfall. The cyclone season starts next month and runs until April.

The bureau’s outlook says the chance of extreme heat developing inland in coming months has increased due to soil dryness and a forecast of clear skies.

“This raises the risk of heatwaves for much of southern and eastern Australia when winds draw this heat to the coast,” Dr Morgan said.