WHY Australia is suddenly being hit by severe tornadoes – as Queensland is hit by twin twisters


A series of ferocious tornadoes have been barrelling across Australia’s east coast leaving behind a trail of destruction as they flatten homes, mangle powerlines and upend trees. 

Now, a storm chaser has revealed why the country is being smashed by a spate of savage tornadoes – and why we can expect there will be more to come in the next two days.

In NSW, a tornado last month tore through Bathurst, in the state’s central west, injuring three, while another rocked Armidale, in the Northern Tablelands, on Thursday – leaving more than 2000 homes damaged.

Further north, twin twisters swept across the Queensland towns of Pittsworth, near Toowoomba, and Bracewell, in the Gladstone region, on Monday as severe weather bears down on the state’s south east. 

Four tornadoes have ripped through Australia's east coast in recent weeks, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Pictured: A tornado in Bathurst last month

Four tornadoes have ripped through Australia’s east coast in recent weeks, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Pictured: A tornado in Bathurst last month 

Unlike the United States – which sees more than 1200 tornadoes a year – the formidable natural phenomena are relatively unheard of in Australia. 

But despite popular belief, Severe Weather Forecaster Justin Noona says they are actually not uncommon – with around 50 to 100 on average tearing through the country each year. 

However, the weather expert said the frequency of tornadoes in recent weeks is ‘unusual’ – and can be blamed on multiple weather systems interacting to muster up mighty storms.  

‘A lot of people think we don’t think we get tornadoes, but that couldn’t be further than the truth,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘The amount we have had over the past couple of weeks is more unusual than normal – we would typically only see a couple across the country during a season.

‘But weather patterns in recent weeks have provided the perfect ingredients for tornadoes across the eastern seaboard and we are expecting more in the next couple of days.’ 

Mr Noona explained the wild weather events have been sparked by a series of upper – level troughs – a stream of cool air in the mid-level of the atmosphere –  sweeping across Australia’s east. 

When they move, they bring in sheer – winds staggered at different heights of the atmosphere, each moving in a different direction – and moisture, which are catalysts for a supercell – or ‘thunderstorm’. 

Pictured: A tornado spotted forming at Bracewell, near Gladstone, on Monday after a week of wild weather created the perfect conditions for the phenomenon

Pictured: A tornado spotted forming at Bracewell, near Gladstone, on Monday after a week of wild weather created the perfect conditions for the phenomenon 

Severe Weather Forecaster Justin Noona said a series of weather systems have interacted to create the 'perfect ingredients' for tornadoes in recent weeks. Pictured: damaged fences in Armidale, after the town was hit by a tornado on Thursday

Severe Weather Forecaster Justin Noona said a series of weather systems have interacted to create the ‘perfect ingredients’ for tornadoes in recent weeks. Pictured: damaged fences in Armidale, after the town was hit by a tornado on Thursday

‘Each of the tornadoes was spawned by individual supercells,’ Mr Noona said.  

‘It is like baking a cake – there is a list of very balanced ingredients – sheer, wind lift, instability, and moisture – and all of the elements come together as one to form a super cell. 

‘A supercell has one sustained rotating updraft which is called a mesocyclone, and as the supercell feeds on that warm air, a tornado can form. 

‘And the process of feeding on air is why they can be sustained for so long. Tornados are the big boys of the storm world.’ 

Mr Noona said the rise of tornadoes spotted in eastern states could be due to a developing La Nina, creating more moisture in the air to use as fuel. 

Pictured: Giant hailstones found in Armidale

Pictured: Giant hailstones found in Armidale

The climate pattern – which leads to more rainfall – could mean there will be even more wild weather in store leading up to Christmas.   

‘It looks like we might move into La Nina by the end of this month – which will further enhance, rainfall and thunderstorm and flood events,’ he said.

‘We could be seeing more of these weather patterns as more moisture becomes available for these systems.’

And more could be on with way in coming days – with forecasts showing supercells could develop across parts of Queensland – especially central areas – over the next 48 hours. 

‘Tornadoes are rare in Queensland – we do not see a lot of them,’ Mr Noona said. 

‘The areas that tend to get them are usually sparsely populated.’  

While there are dozens of tornadoes Down Under annually, Mr Noona said many hit rural parts of the country and go unnoticed. 

A rise in people having camera phones, Mr Noona said, has also led to the perception twisters have suddenly appeared in Australia because they are more likely to be documented.  

Cladding was ripped from the roofs of houses after a tornado struck Armidale on Thursday night (pictured)

Cladding was ripped from the roofs of houses after a tornado struck Armidale on Thursday night (pictured)

Peak storm season – when tornadoes are most likely – falls between October and December – with northern Victoria, and far southern and far northern NSW the areas most likely to be hit.  

As Queensland’s southeast was lashed by storms on Monday, golf-ball sized hail and 51mm of rain battered the region within 30minutes. 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issues severe thunderstorm warnings on Monday, stretching from Cooktown to the NSW border, with multiple supercells possible from Mackay to Bundaberg, in the state’s central east. 

Photos posted online captured a tornado at Bracewell while BOM confirmed it had received reports of a tornado near Pittsworth. 

Meanwhile, hail storms smashed Baralaba, Toowoomba and Mt Larcom, where golf-sized ice stones were littered across gardens. 

‘The hail here was crazy. Haven’t seen hail like it for years,’ Mt Larcom resident Michelle Wheatcroft wrote on social media.

Downpours are set to continue smashing the east coast in coming days, with showers forecast in Sydney through to Friday with temperatures hovering between the low teens to mid 20s. 

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning on Monday as thunderstorms battered down across the country's east coast

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning on Monday as thunderstorms battered down across the country’s east coast 

More than 2000 homes were damaged when a tornado tore through Armidale last week

More than 2000 homes were damaged when a tornado tore through Armidale last week 

Similarly, Brisbane residents are in for a wet week – with showers to persist leading until next week. 

However, temperatures will be warm with lows basking in the mid teens while the mercury jumps around the high 20s to low 30Cs.  

Melburnians can also expect cloudy and wet conditions with the exception of a mostly-sunny Wednesday, with minimums around 10C and highs in the low 20Cs.

In Perth, between 15 to 35mm of rain is set to hit on Tuesday with a thunderstorm possible in the afternoon. Showers will continue until Friday, with moderate temperatures between 11C to 23C. 

Adelaide will enjoy sunny and warm conditions until showers develop from Thursday, before easing in time for the weekend. Highs will sit from the mid 20Cs – jumping to 30C on Wednesday – while lows sit in the mid-teens, before dropping on Friday. 

Hobart will remain partly cloudy throughout the week before rain develops on Friday, continuing through the weekend. Minimums will sit around 6C, while highs bounce between 16C to 22C. 

Cool temperatures will chill Canberra this week, with lows below 10C and highs in the high teens to low 20s. Showers are expected on Tuesday, with cloudy conditions for the rest of the week. 

Darwin will be dominated by cloudy conditions this week, although minimums will sit in the high 20Cs while the mercury tops 35C. Possible storms and showers will move in from Saturday for a wet weekend. 

FIVE DAY WEATHER FORECAST IN YOUR CITY  

SYDNEY  

TUESDAY: Min 14. Max 21. Showers developing. 

WEDNESDAY: Min 12. Max 21. Showers.

THURSDAY: Min 14. Max 22. A few showers.

FRIDAY: Min 13. Max 24. Partly cloudy.

SATURDAY: Min 15. Max 26. Shower or two.

BRISBANE: 

TUESDAY: Min 16. Max 26. Shower or two. Possible storm.

WEDNESDAY: Min 15. Max 27. Shower or two.

THURSDAY: Min 16. Max 25. Shower or two.

FRIDAY: Min 18. Max 28. Shower or two.

SATURDAY: Min 18. Max 32. Shower or two.

ADELAIDE: 

TUESDAY: Min 10. Max 25. Sunny.

WEDNESDAY: Min 14. Max 30. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 15. Max 24. Possible shower.

FRIDAY: Min 11. Max 21. Possible shower.

SATURDAY: Min 10. Max 19. Partly cloudy.

PERTH: 

TUESDAY: Min 15. Max 21. Rain. Possible storm.

WEDNESDAY: Min 13. Max 20. Showers. Wind easing.

THURSDAY: Min 13. Max 21. Shower or two.

FRIDAY: Min 11. Max 23. Partly cloudy.

SATURDAY: Min 11. Max 27. Mostly sunny.

MELBOURNE:  

TUESDAY: Min 10. Max 18. Light shower or two.

WEDNESDAY: Min 9. Max 23. Mostly sunny.

THURSDAY: Min 13. Max 24. Cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 14. Max 23. Showers increasing.

SATURDAY: Min 11. Max 18. Showers.

CANBERRA: 

TUESDAY: Min 8. Max 16. Showers.

WEDNESDAY: Min 4. Max 19. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 5. Max 21. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 9. Max 25. Partly cloudy.

SATURDAY: Min 10. Max 23. Shower or two.

DARWIN: 

TUESDAY: Min 27. Max 35. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 27. Max 35. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 27. Max 35. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 27. Max 35. Partly cloudy.

SATURDAY: Min 27. Max 35. Shower or two. Possible storm.

HOBART:

TUESDAY: Min 7. Max 13. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 6. Max 16. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 7. Max 22. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 11. Max 22. Showers developing.

SATURDAY: Min 11. Max 16. Showers.

 



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Written by bourbiza

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