The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has released its long-range forecast for the coming severe weather season, pointing to an increased risk of widespread flooding for eastern and northern Australia, along with an above average number of tropical cyclones and tropical lows.

“This season we have a greater than 70% chance of at least 11 tropical cyclones, which is the long-term average impacting the Australian region,” the BOM said.

The forecast also included warnings on the risk of bushfires, heatwaves, and severe thunderstorms.

The BOM said there is “normal bushfire potential” in Australia’s eastern states, but southern Australia should prepare for an elevated risk of grass fire. Meanwhile, southern areas with higher humidity should expect an increased risk of prolonged heatwaves.

Furthermore, amid a normal risk of severe thunderstorms, Australians should remain prepared for a possible increase of thunderstorm asthma events if conditions are dry in late spring and early summer.

The BOM issued its long-range forecast on Monday, ahead of the November 1 to April 30 cyclone season. It also urged communities to begin preparing for the first tropical cyclone of the season, citing an “increased chance” that it will happen earlier than usual.

“This reflects the impact of current climate influences, including La Niña, and a negative Indian Ocean Dipole,” the BOM said. “Despite fewer tropical cyclones in recent years, Australia has never had a season without at least one tropical cyclone crossing the coast, since records began in the early 1970s.”

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Source: Insurance Business Australia