Grim prediction for Christmas weather
Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on two tropical cyclones, and one potential low that could form into a cyclone, that are threatening to crash Australia's Christmas party with some more wild weather.
Two cyclones are in the Pacific while another could hit the Western Australia coast during Christmas week.
WA's north coast was deluged by rain last week while the east coast of Australia is in the midst of a huge weather event with almost a metre of rain falling in some places.
There is a caveat to the grim prediction: it can be notoriously tricky to predict the exact course of cyclones and tropical lows, and weather forecasts more than a week out are less accurate.
But all the indications are that even if the various cyclones and lows avoid Australia, we'll be in for a humid and soggy Christmas week for much of the continent.
The good news is that means Christmas and New Year 2020 is likely to be a far cry from the dry and devastating conditions of 2019 which led to the horror bushfire season. The bad news is Christmas Day barbecues might be out under sodden skies - except that is in Perth where it could be very toasty indeed.
During December last year, Brisbane breached 40C once and Sydney wasn't far off, Melbourne got there twice, Perth four times and Adelaide streaked past 40C an extraordinary seven times before we reached New Year.
"A classic La Nina weather pattern has developed across Australia with rain and thunderstorms impacting much of the north and east during the past week," Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tom Saunders told news.com.au.
"This pattern will continue through the next week with humid air providing the right conditions for further showers and thunderstorms across the eastern seaboard."
Mr Saunders said added to that there was also the risk of a tropical cyclone in Australian waters next week.
Two cyclones, named Yasa and Zazu, formed either side of Fiji. They resemble two giant swirling eyes in the Pacific.
Yasa is currently at category 5 strength which means winds of between 150 and 250km/h. It's heading rapidly towards Fiji's main island. Zazu is the weaker of the two systems and is south east of Tonga.
There's a possibility Yasa may move towards New Zealand, but if that's the case it will weaken due to the cyclone exiting the tropical waters it needs to sustain its energy.
But if either decided to make a dash towards Australia that could bring fresh rain and winds to our shores.
There is another tropical low brewing and that could have a more direct impact with Australia.
The BOM has warned the low could form off the Kimberley coast this weekend. That could build into a tropical cyclone that would then be forecast to travel down the WA coast making landfall between Broome and Karratha on Christmas Eve.
Severe Tropical #CycloneYasa will impact #Fiji from today as a Category 5 system🌀— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) December 16, 2020
This satellite loop shows how quickly the system organised itself from a tropical low into the highest category, with a distinct eye.
Our thoughts are with Fijians or those with loved ones there. pic.twitter.com/cq6SMGtHuM
All eyes are on a tropical low expected to develop this Friday over the NT's Top End and move west. As the low hasn't formed yet there's a number of scenarios. What is likely is rain across the north Kimberley from the end of this week. Keep checking https://t.co/0DzxQGHPpS pic.twitter.com/8WPK9hTygW— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) December 16, 2020
If the low does bubble up, it will be a sodden and blustery festive period for WA's north west. That moisture will then probably work its way across the continent to the south and east heading into New Year.
CHRISTMAS WEATHER IN MAJOR CITIES
Going around the capitals the general rule with the rain this Christmas is that it's possible just about everywhere - but the further south you go the less you'll get.
"Sydney and Brisbane for example are likely to see precipitation every day for the next week," said Mr Saunders.
Canberra should be mostly dry with temperatures also settling around the mid-twenties.
A drier Christmas is likely for Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide. Melbourne is forecast to see the mercury drop from its current 30C highs down to possible 25C for the 25th; Adelaide will be much the same. Cooler in Hobart where it will bob around the 20C mark.
Perth will be the standout capital in terms of festive heat. Its current run of dry days north of 30C shows no sign of halting before Christmas. Although it may dip down into the twenties just in time for Christmas Day.
In the north, the monsoon will cause heavy rain through the lead up to Christmas. Darwin will see maximums in the low thirties and storms with similar conditions in Cairns.
Originally published as Grim prediction for Christmas weather