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Summer storms are brewing

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Summer storms are brewing

Batten down the hatches – respected forecaster Hayden Walker says the upcoming storm season will hit us harder and earlier than usual, bringing with it extreme weather events that will affect homes, infrastructure and the economy.

This storm season will be the most ferocious and persistent in recent memory, the nation’s most respected long-range forecaster has warned.

Hayden Walker, a fourth-generation forecaster and son of world-famous weather expert Lennox Walker, has prepared an exclusive spring and summer preview – and he is not pulling any punches.

Mr Walker’s latest analysis follows his expert guide to summer published on sunshinecoastnews.com.au on December 3 last year and cyclone forecast on January 27. Both proved highly accurate. He says this storm season will be the most violent and sustained in several years and residents need to prepare for it.

Mr Walker predicts dangerous storms, accompanied by hail and localised flooding, will arrive earlier than usual, during the final week of September.

“Extreme weather conditions during the winter period have been predominately confined to the southern parts of Australia, with minimal activity in Queensland and in the north. However, this is all about to change,” he says.

“The outlook for spring will accommodate heavy and savage storm activity in southeast Queensland, commencing in September, particularly the last week of the month. But it won’t just be the spring months bearing the brunt of these weather extremes.

“All three months of summer will see storm activity well above the average, compared to previous years.

“Not only will there be hail, gale-force winds and associated flooding, these weather extremes will affect infrastructure, emergency services, property owners and the economy due to a loss of produce.”

Mr Walker’s predictions are shaped by monitoring solar flares, analysing historical data, and observing planetary relationships and orbital patterns.

He says in October and November the intensity of storm activity will increase in southern Queensland, with Mother Nature releasing her fury. He says there will also be an increased frequency of storms compared with previous years.

“Storm activity for this period will not only be confined to the coastal and adjacent inland areas, but more widespread throughout the state.”

Mr Walker, the Bundaberg-based research director and principal of Walker’s Weather, has a strong association with the Sunshine Coast as his family previously called Crohamhurst Observatory at Peachester home.

He and his research team are engaged by insurance organisations, farmers and construction and mining companies to predict extreme weather events that can make or break industries.

Mr Walker predicts the main areas affected will be in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Western Australia.

“There will be two cyclones in the Gulf, one in January and one in February,” he says.

“I have one forming off the north Queensland coast in February, with a low probability of crossing the coast, and most probably heading east to the South Pacific islands.

“There will be another affecting the Northern Territory in April and three cyclones in WA – two in January and one in February.’

“Cyclone activity will be prominent in the South Pacific islands.”

Mr Walker says the end of September and October will bring decent falls to a number of areas throughout the state with further rainfall indicated during November and December (some areas to a lesser extent).

“The start of 2022 will see heavy rain across the top end of Australia and this will be repeated during February. Rainfall is also indicated at a number of inland areas,” he says.

Mr Walker uses his knowledge of the sun, combined with patterns of sunspot activity and energy flow, to predict both the short- and long-term future of weather worldwide, specialising in long-range forecasts.

The sun has an ever-changing surface that accommodates large sunspots emitting solar radiation or magnetic fields, which react with the Earth’s magnetic field. This causes a reaction with the poles, thus producing the Northern Lights.

An increase in sunspot activity, especially during a solar maximum, gives rise to weather extremes, such as flooding, cyclones and storms. The reverse happens during a solar minimum, or a dormant period, when we experience droughts.

Mr Walker has been successful in predicting many major weather events – such as the cyclones Larry, Yasi, Marcia and Olwyn, flooding to the New South Wales coast during April 2015 and recent storm activity in Queensland and New South Wales.

He was the only long-range weather forecaster to predict Cyclone Oswald that brought heavy rains to New South Wales and Queensland, especially the floods to Bundaberg.

 

Prepare your home for a storm

  1. General maintenance
  • Check the condition of the roof and repair loose tiles, eaves and screws.
  • Clean gutters and downpipes so water can drain away as quickly as possible.
  • Trim trees and overhanging branches.
  • Secure loose items that could cause damage if blown around in high winds (such as garden furniture and toys).
  1. General preparations
  • Ensure your home, contents and car insurance is current and covers your assets adequately – check your policy includes debris clean-up and disposal.
  • Identify which room is the strongest part of the house, in case you need to shelter in your home during a severe storm or cyclone. Usually this would be the smallest room in the house, with the least windows.
  • Identify where and how to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas.
  • Buy emergency essentials to have on hand, such as containers to store drinking water, a spare fuel supply for use in your vehicle (ensure you store safely), wide masking tape for windows. hessian bags and sand for sandbagging indoor drains to prevent sewerage backwash from flooding.
  1. If you live in a flood-prone area:
  • Store all poisons well above ground level.
  • Identify which indoor items you will need to raise or empty if flooding threatens your home.
  • Also consider alternatives to carpet, relocating electrical sockets and power points to well above floor level.
  1. If you live in an area prone to cyclones or severe storms:
  • Fit windows with shutters or metal screens for added protection during high winds.
  • Arrange a professional builder to check your building and identify measures to increase its structural security to withstand high winds.
  1. When severe weather warnings are issued:
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and all external television and radio aerials.
  • Turn off electricity and gas main supplies if instructed by emergency authorities.
  • Secure outdoor furniture and other garden items.
  • Fill buckets and bath with clean water in case of interruptions to main supply.
  • Close windows with shutters, or use strong tape in criss-crossing pattern and draw curtains.
  • Park vehicles under cover, away from trees, powerlines and waterways.
  • If you cannot access undercover shelter for your vehicles, secure with firmly tied blankets to minimise hail damage.
  • Check all household members are safe and are in the strongest room in the house.
  • Take your emergency kit.
  • Tune in and listen to your local radio station for updates in the event and further warnings and safety messages.

 

Have you got a Pet emergency plan?

Always ensure:

  • Your pet has access to plenty of food and fresh water.
  • Your pet has shelter and bedding.
  • All animals under your care can be properly and easily identified.
  • You have telephone numbers for your veterinarian or animal welfare agency included in your household emergency kit.
  • You never leave an animal tied up or chained without shelter and bedding.
  • You never leave an animal in a motor vehicle.

The Pet Emergency Plan is for your household pets. If you have more than two pets, or are looking after your neighbours’ pets, complete a second plan.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: haydenwalkersweather.com.au

For information on how to prepare for storm season go to getready.qld.gov.au

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