FROM November to May, the Mackay region has a very high risk of being impacted by cyclones.
During this period, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) keeps a 24-hour watch on developing tropical weather systems.
They keep the public informed through weather forecasts and warnings issued via their website and the media.
The BoM produces tropical cyclone warnings as well as related information about tropical cyclones and the tropical cyclone season. These products include Tropical Cyclone Advices and Forecast Track Maps, as well as seasonal outlooks and information bulletins.
Tropical Cyclone Advices are issued whenever a tropical cyclone is likely to cause winds in excess of 62 km/h (gale force) over Australian communities within the next 48 hours. The Tropical Cyclone Advice lets people know when they might be affected by issuing either a Watch or Warning for each community in the path of the cyclone.
A Tropical Cyclone Watch is issued for coastal communities when the onset of gales is expected within 48 hours, but not within 24 hours.
A Tropical Cyclone Warning is issued for coastal communities when the onset of gales is expected within 24 hours or are already occurring.
While the threat remains, a Tropical Cyclone Advice will be issued every six hours, increasing to every three hours when cyclone warnings are required. In some circumstances, when a cyclone approaching the coast is under radar surveillance, the advices may be issued hourly.
When a cyclone forms, or is expected to form, BoM produce a Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map. This shows important information about the cyclone’s intensity, movements, and the Watch and/or Warning zones, to help you make the best decisions for you and your family before, during, and after the cyclone. The Forecast Track Map is issued at the same time as the Tropical Cyclone Advice and contains all the information included in the Advice. Unlike Tropical Cyclone Advices, it is issued for all tropical cyclones, even if there is no threat to Australian communities.
In October, the Bureau issues an Australian Tropical Cyclone Seasonal Outlook. It provides a prediction of the level of tropical cyclone activity expected over summer.
To see the tropical cyclone season outlook when it is released, see the BoM website here.