Australia cyclone
Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Ita is seen approaching the far north Queensland coast of Australia, in this NOAA satellite image taken by JMA/MTSAT at 0130EST/0530GMT April 10, 2014. Reuters

The Australian government has launched a new video as part of a cyclone awareness campaign to improve people’s understanding of tropical cyclone warnings.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the launch comes after the recent release of the country’s Tropical Cyclone Outlook, and a cyclone awareness campaign run through social media this month.

A tropical cyclone’s effects vary depending on its intensity, so it’s important to understand the hazards involved and the potential damage it can cause, senior meteorologist Andrea Peace says in the video. “The tropical cyclone’s intensity ratings are described using the numerical scale from one to five, with five being the highest. This intensity rating is based on the maximum wind gustiness associated with the cyclone that usually occurs at the center, called the eye,” she explains.

According to the bureau, building resilience in communities is vital, which could start with knowledge to prepare early and act appropriately when cyclone warnings are issued.

The likelihood of severe weather events rapidly increases through spring and summer, according to Bureau of Meteorology Deputy Director Rob Webb. “While the strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean reduces the chances of an unusually active cyclone season, it’s not the number we’ll remember, it’s the impact,” he said.

Even one tropical cyclone can have a significant impact, he warned, particularly if it makes landfall in a heavily populated region or an area vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.

"Enjoy the Australian summer, but make sure you keep one eye on the weather and be ready to act,” Webb stated.

According to Webb, there's always at least one cyclone that crosses the Australian coast each year, including during El Niño seasons. Typically, 11 tropical cyclones form in the Australian region during the November to April cyclone season, and four of those make landfall.

Earlier this month, the bureau issued its monthly and seasonal climate outlooks for December 2015 to January 2016.

According to the outlook, December temperatures are likely to be warmer than average for southern Australia, while rainfall is likely to be above average across southeast Queensland and northeast NSW, parts of the interior and southwestern Australia.

The bureau also said that the summer outlook indicates that below-average rainfall is likely across the northwest and Cape York Peninsula and wetter across parts of the east. The daytime temperature outlook is patchy, with warmer days likely in parts of the west and north, while parts of the southeast are likely to be cooler.

Daytime temperatures are likely to be average to warmer-than-average for most of Australia. Meanwhile, overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer across most of the country except the southeast.

Current climate influences include a combination of a strong El Niño in the Pacific, a decaying positive Indian Ocean Dipole, and very warm Indian Ocean temperatures, the bureau cautioned.

Source: YouTube/Bureau of Meteorology

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