Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:15 pm

Oil rigs in preparation mode for cyclone season:

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/oil- ... ason/22592

By Erin Parke, Monday October 1, 2012

Cyclone preparation is an annual routine in the state's north.

Residents clear debris from the garden, refresh the first aid kit, ensure the candles are handy and batteries charged.

The approach of the wet season also has implications for the state's oil and gas industry, which has billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and thousands of workers located in cyclone hot spots on the northern coast.

In 2007, Fortescue Metals Group learnt the hard way the destructive power of cyclones, when two workers were killed as they sheltered in a work camp flattened by Cyclone George.

So, how is industry able to co-exist with the often violent forces of nature in the north, and how is a cyclone simulator improving rig safety and pipeline stability?

Each year, an average of four to six cyclones cross the WA coast between the months of November and April.

Oil and gas hub

On the wall of the Broome FESA operations room sits a map illustrating with red dots the coastal crossings recorded over the past century.

They're clustered around the section of coast between Onslow and Broome that forms the hub of WA's $107 billion a year oil and gas industry.

It's an area dotted with offshore drilling rigs, export ships and workers camps.

WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy director Nicole Roocke says cyclones are a constant challenge for companies operating in the north.

"Most companies would anticipate a couple of days disruption per year in the North-West region as a result of adverse weather conditions," she said.

"Industry is well drilled in these issues and always prepared, however, every cyclone presents its own challenges."

The chamber says production has to be halted every time there is a cyclone threat in the area.

So, what happens on a drilling rig when the Bureau of Meteorology announces a tropical low has formed and a cyclone's approaching?

Ships and floating oil platforms are often towed out to sea to try and avoid the cyclone's path.

Ms Roocke says if that can't be done, decisions have to be made about where workers will be safest.

"Well before a red alert is called, companies will tie down critical equipment, ensure employees are home safely and have had time to secure their property," she said.

"(Or) if the facility is designed to handle the cyclone, critical staff may stay on the rig."

Cyclone simulator

While rig workers toil away in the north, it's in Perth that the bulk of the work's been done to improve the safety of rigs, including the platforms and pipelines, in the face of a cyclone.

At the University of WA, engineers have developed a cyclone simulator that allows them to test how the storms have an impact on the seabed.

Assistant Professor Scott Draper says the O-tube tests the water and sand pressure on a 20 metre length of pipe installed in a tank.

"Our main aim is understand the dynamic processes of how the sand moves around the pipe which previously has been ignored in stability calculations," he said.

According to team leader, Liang Cheng, real-life cyclone conditions can be replicated almost perfectly within the tank.

"We actually can simulate the different storm conditions in different water types," he said.

"So basically we can dial up any desirable storm we want and them simulate the response of the pipe."

The research has already had tangible benefits for industry.

Professor Draper says one company came to them wanting to know how well a particular section of existing pipe would survive multiple cyclone strikes.

"We wanted to determine if it was going to be stable over the next 40 years, and the facility was used to make a prediction about that," he said.

"That led to significant cost advantages for the operator involved.

"They were able to use the results from our O-tube experiment to make a prediction about what the pipeline would do and that saved them money on stabilisation costs."

It's hoped the improved understanding of how cyclones affect the seabed will also lead to breakthroughs in rig and platform design, and reduce the chances of them toppling over in a storm-front.

Professor Draper says the stability of the pipelines is critical as companies look to expand their operations in the north.

"At the moment, with the way the economy is moving, we're seeing a significant amount of development on the North-West shelf," he said.

"[There are] proposals for new offshore production facilities which will see more and more lengths of pipelines put on the seabed in the Pilbara region and perhaps towards the Kimberley coastline too.

"So, there's definitely a need to improve our design practices and make sure that this increase in pipeline laying is safe."

Managing threat

The Maritime Union represents hundreds of oil and gas workers in the north, and keeps a close eye on how companies manage the cyclone threat.

Assistant branch secretary Will Tracey says the companies usually know to get their employees out quickly.

"Generally they'll fly them out to Perth and get them out quick, because as you go from yellow to blue to red alert, they'll close the airports quite early," he said.

"There's no doubt it costly to evacuate a worksite, whether that be a rig or an island like Barrow Island but what cost do you put on loss of life?"

Mr Tracey says the deaths of the two Fortescue workers in 2007 shows how crucial good decision-making is in the days and hours before the storm hits.

In that case, the company was subject to harsh criticism and legal action for failing to evacuate its workers to safety.

In addition to the deaths, dozens of dongas were flattened and more than 20 people injured.

"The reality is on these resource projects, they've got an obligation to get people out of harm's way," he said.

As companies work to keep their staff safe, the UWA team is aiming to improve the stability of the infrastructure.

Professor Draper says the team is confident their work and the cyclone simulator will have a world-wide impact.

"There are design codes which are going to be updated, and we've been in discussion with the publisher to use the findings of our research to update and improve the design codes that are used internationally," he said.

"I think that's a massive breakthrough and I think where the far-reaching impact of our work can go."

- ABC

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:17 pm

Wet season build up begins in the Kimberley:

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/wet- ... rley/22598

Ben Domensino, Tuesday October 2, 2012

Parts of the Kimberley have already seen over half their average October rainfall, signalling the build-up to northern Australia's wet season.

October represents the transition between the region's dry and wet seasons. Kununurra's average monthly rainfall jumps from 3mm during September to 62mm in November. Over the border, Darwin goes from just 16mm to 140mm.

Increasingly warm waters off northern Australia increases the amount of moisture available in the atmosphere, while rising temperatures over the land trigger convection. This recipe leads to more frequent and more intense showers and thunderstorms.

Showers and storms on the first day of October have signalled the start of this year's wet season build-up. During the 24 hours to 9am this morning, Mount House Airstrip recorded 36mm of rain. Mount Elizabeth received 22mm, which is 70 percent of the usual October rainfall.

The trough weakened over northern WA this morning and moved offshore, allowing showers and storms to clear the Kimberley. Looking ahead, dry weather is expected to persist for the region until at least Sunday.

The remainder of this year, which includes the first two months of the wet season, is expected to experience close to average rainfall across northern Australia.

- Weatherzone

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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby Fu Manchu » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:56 pm

The season outlook for cyclones is issued on Oct. 15th I think.
The rainfall outlook pretty much gives an indication of what the season will be like though.
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/rain.wa.shtml

It's showing increased chance of above average rainfall in that strip where cyclones would sweep through from Exmouth and Onslow

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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby Fu Manchu » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:19 pm

Neil Bennett was on Perth's ABC 720 earlier today discussing the cyclone outlook. Keep an eye on this for the Season outlook:
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/tc.shtml

Already have an active cyclone in the Indian and its the biggest ever recorded for the start of the season.
Keep an eye on http://28storms.com/cyclone/ for more on that and of course.

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby mackerelmauler » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:25 pm

Tropical Cyclone outlook for 2012/13 is out now on BOM.

Western Australia Seasonal Tropical Cyclone Outlook

15 October 2012
Northwest communities urged to prepare now for the wet season

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued its tropical cyclone seasonal outlook today. Today also marks the first day in the Bureau and FESA's tour of Western Australia's northwest to promote cyclone and flood awareness, and preparation initiatives for the coming wet season.

Bureau of Meteorology Manager for Severe Weather Services in WA, Andrew Burton, said with the wet season rapidly approaching, it is important that residents start preparations immediately.

"Every season brings the risk of wind damage, flooding and isolation and there is simply no room for complacency. Coastal communities between Broome and Exmouth face the highest cyclone risk of anywhere in Australia."

"At this early stage, it is impossible to predict the likely onset, path or intensity of any individual cyclone that might occur. We expect around two coastal impacts and one of those is likely to be severe, but everyone in the northwest needs to be prepared from the start of the season on 1 November," said Mr Burton.

"Climate models are indicating that we are likely to have a near-average number of tropical cyclones this season," explained Mr Burton. However he cautioned that the number of tropical cyclones is not a good indication of the threat to communities.

"For most people a bad season is one when their community cops a direct hit or suffers a major flood, regardless of the total number of cyclones" he said.
Summary of the tropical cyclone seasonal outlook for Western Australia:
A 42% chance of an above average number (58% chance of a below average number) of tropical cyclones in waters off the northwest coast (average number is five).
Likelihood of around two coastal impacts.
Significant risk of at least one severe tropical cyclone coastal impact during the season.
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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:20 pm

Cyclone forecast not about the numbers:

Monday October 15, 2012

The Bureau of Meteorology says it expects about five tropical cyclones to form off the Western Australian coast this season, including one or two that could hit the mainland.

Today, the bureau predicted an average to below average cyclone season in the official forecast for the north-west.

One of those cyclones between November and April is expected to be severe.

The bureau's Andrew Burton says regardless of the forecast, people need to make the appropriate preparations.

He says the prediction is only an estimate and it is impossible to determine exactly what will happen.

"In the 2006/2007 season we had the tragedy of Tropical Cyclone George," he said.

"That season overall was very quiet, so that really drives home that message that it's not about the numbers.

"We need to be prepared every season for that one severe tropical cyclone that could really cause a lot of havoc.

"Really, the most important message is none of this really matters much at all for residents because when it comes down to it, a bad season is the one where a severe cyclone hits your community.

"Unfortunately, there's nobody in the world that can tell you whether this season it's your turn."

- ABC

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:05 pm

An average cyclone season is forecast:

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/an-a ... cast/22671

By Natalie Jones, Wednesday October 17, 2012

The state's north west is facing a low to average number of cyclones this season.

But, it was a quiet season when George, a category five cyclone packing very destructive winds, crossed the WA coast in 2007, killing three people and wreaking widespread damage on some mining camps.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting about five tropical cyclones between November and April, including one or two that could impact the mainland.

The bureau's Andrew Burton says it's not the numbers that matter.

"There's a lot of focus sometimes on the numbers and what we find when we look at them is there's no correlation between the number of cyclones we have off the coast and the number of coastal impacts we get," he said.

"The classic example is the 2006/2007 season where we had the tragedy of Tropical Cyclone George, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones to hit mainland WA, and sadly caused a lot of destruction overall and deaths."

Mr Burton says that season serves as a warning.

"That season overall was very quiet so it really drives home that message that it's not about the numbers, it's really about needing to be prepared every season for that one severe tropical cyclone that can really cause a lot of havoc," he said.

"Unfortunately, there's nobody in the world that can tell you whether this season it's your turn."

Flash flooding

The community of Warmun in the Kimberley's remote north was devastated by flash floods from torrential rains in March 2011, a common byproduct of the cyclone season.

The Warmun Art Centre manager, Alana Hunt, says it was a traumatic event as a more than two metre wall of water turned the flat area into an ocean.

"Everyone wants the rain to come to cool the heat but no-one wants the rain to come to flood the community again," she said.

"No-one was expecting it would go to the level it did and it was that last moment when it really started flooding that everyone got out of here.

"No-one expected two and a half metres of water to flood a huge building, it was like an ocean of rain.

"It came right through the gallery and washed out a lot of the walls of the centre.

"We were just scrubbing mud and repairing paintings and cataloguing damage and people were bringing in works that had been washed down the river," she recalls.

Members of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority and the Bureau will hand deliver this season's forecast to the most cyclone-prone patch of the north-west coast, from about Exmouth to Broome.

FESA's Kimberley Superintendent Grant Pipe says they will educate people about the cyclone alert system and check they know what to expect when the season hits.

"As we know cyclones can be very, very severe and cause massive damage and have the potential to kill," he said.

"So the intent of the tour is to go out, make sure that there's a line of communication between us and them.

"It's quite a harrowing experience and some people are traumatised by the effects of a severe tropical cyclone."

Self sufficiency

Superintendent Pipe has so far visited a handful of community leaders, police and local governments in remote parts of the Kimberley, to check there are power supply back-ups, plenty of food and water reserves, and medical equipment.

"These people really need to be self-sufficient for a period of time before we're able to get emergency services personnel in there to assist," he said.

Remote communities aren't the only ones to get a visit - FESA and SES have just checked out iron ore mine sites along the Yampi Sound, north of Broome.

Grant Pipe spoke to mine managers at the isolated Koolan Island and Cockatoo Island mines.

He says mine sites face their own challenges, particularly as they often have a FIFO workforce.

"People come out of the Perth metropolitan area and don't really have an understanding of cyclones and the importance of preparedness so that's some of the risk that we face as an industry," he said.

"The industry has been fantastic with regards to providing documentation through their induction processes so people are aware."

Back in Broome, where Grant Pipe is based, the challenge is to reach those who tend to become complacent.

He says they are reminding builders to put away loose objects, ensure site sheds are secure and tie down building items.

"There's always people out there that think it's never going to happen to them but we'd certainly like to reiterate to them that one day it will happen to them and to ensure that they're prepared," he said.

Lesson learnt

Ms Hunt says the Warmun community is now better prepared but it is still dealing with the after-effects of last year's flooding.

"We're still recovering from it now - it took about a year to get things functioning at a semi-normal level," she said.

"I think around 80 percent of what we had was destroyed so it was really about starting from scratch."

Ms Hunt says the Gija people have channelled their experiences into paintings.

"With the trauma of the flood and the experience of losing everything in your house as well as everything in the art centre gone by; sort of looking at it as an opportunity to start fresh," she said.

"We've had some really interesting painting come out of that which over the next two or three years [will] feed into some pretty important exhibitions nationally, I think."

She says the community has learnt from its experience.

"We have a new building that is specifically flood-proof, it's two stories high, so we will be housing all the really important works there, the stuff that can't be replaced," she said.

"In terms of the gallery, the building's still here and it was refurbished but it wasn't replaced; we just have to be on the ball and if it looks like there's going to be a flood we have to get everything to higher ground."

Mr Burton is reminding north-west residents it is not about the predictions but about being prepared.

"An average season is to have around five cyclones off the north-west coast which is exactly what we had last season," he said.

"The numbers vary greatly in terms of coastal impacts but on average there's two coastal impacts and one of them's severe."

- ABC

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:30 pm

Lightning up in the Kimberleys and in Central WA at the moment.

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:05 pm

There's lots of lightning East of Broome and inland at the moment!

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:05 pm

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:55 pm

Another afternoon of storms in the Kimberleys.

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:00 pm

Image

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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby Fu Manchu » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:27 pm

44 in Roebourne today.

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:15 pm

Some good storm activity up North on the WZ radar right now!

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Port Headland Radar:

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:30 pm

Current Radar Images:

Image

Image

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby brayden » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:58 pm

Yeah those cells south of Hedland near Abydos were insane earlier! They were being fed well :D activity is edging closer, should hopefully be closer to Exmouth next coupler days, I wanna chase!
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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby Fu Manchu » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:20 pm

Chasing out there would make me nervous.
Floodways with depth markers of 2m plus not cool if you need to down about face.

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Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby Fu Manchu » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:21 pm

Just north of Leamonth is a few 3m plus from memory

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:50 pm

Marble Bar received 12.8mm of rain between 8:00pm and 9:00pm.

Newman Airport received 15.0mm of rain between 10:30pm and 11:30pm.

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Re: Northern Wet Season 2012/2013

Postby @weather_wa » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:00 am

The Port Headland radar loop for the last 12 hours:

http://www.oscilmet.com.au/?page=loops. ... 1351105200

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