Where’s that Cyclone going?

Katestone’s forecasting system K-NWS did a great job forecasting Tropical Cyclone Dylan recently. K-NWS accurately predicted its path, intensity and timing three days in advance, as shown in the animation below.


The significant rain associated with most cyclones, and the tropical lows that follow, can actually cause more concern to industry (such as open cut mines) than the strong winds. The Katestone forecasting system successfully forecast rain in excess of 100mm at Mackay, three days prior to the passage of Cyclone Dylan.


Forecasting cyclone formation and tracking their progress is quite a difficult task for human forecasters and for the weather models they rely on. Not all models are created equal, and capabilities vary, with some being simply unsuitable for the task. That is why Katestone uses the WRF model in its numerical weather system. K-NWS is well suited to cyclone/hurricane tracking.

Severe tropical cyclones are potentially easier to track, as they are such dominating weather systems. Weaker systems are less predictable and, as you have probably seen on the TV over the last week, Cyclone Gillian and Hadi wandered considerably and were hard to predict. This was also the case last month with Cyclone Dylan.

Northern Australia seems to have received plenty of cyclones this season. First came Christine in December, which was followed by Dylan, Fletcher, Edna, Jacob, and recently Gillian and Hadi. You might be interested to know that the number of cyclones in this region of Australia has actually decreased over the past 40 years. Recent research indicates that cyclone activity in Australia is lower than it’s ever been in the past 500 – 1500 years. Climate change projections also indicate a reduction in the number of cyclones, but with a possible increase in severity.

Frequency of cyclones in the Australian Region
source: BOM web site

What can we do to prepare?

It is possible to prepare yourself for cyclones. Understanding your cyclone risk can be achieved with analysis of long term climate data, and preparation of a climate risk assessment. If you are in a high risk area keeping a close eye on the weather forecast is also advisable.

We may be heading to a period of uncertainly with respect to the frequency of cyclones, but Katestone is well prepared to provide your industry with accurate and timely forecasts to reduce your weather risk.

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