Nth Cst & Tableland weather
Port Douglas Weather and Climate
Port Douglas & Tropical North Queensland generally enjoy two distinct weather seasons. The dryer winter months from April to December, and the wetter summer months of December to April. The latest Port Douglas weather conditions (if available) are displayed in the Weather box on the right.
Dry (Peak Tourist) Season. April-December (Warm and Dry)
Average winter temperature 19° C - 24° C ( 66° F - 75° F )
Dry with clear skies & comfortable temperatures day & night.
Easter is the start of the tourist season which continues until December.
Accommodation should be pre-booked well in advance.
Wet (Greening) Season. December-April (Hot & Wet)
Average summer temperature 23° C - 30° C ( 73° F - 86° F )
Higher humidity with (traditionally) frequent rain showers and the possibility of tropical cyclones.
Showers can be torrential, often accompanied by spectacular lightening displays.
Tourism at this time of the year is growing strongly so it is recommended that accommodation and tours be booked in advance.
Port Douglas weather & seasonal notes:
Fresh & saltwater swimming pools can be found throughout the hotels, motels & resorts in Port Douglas meaning a relaxing swim need never be far away.
Mossman Gorge is another favourite with locals & is just a short drive north of Port Douglas. This cool freshwater river, surrounded by lush rainforest, is a refreshing alternative to swimming in the warmer waters of The Coral Sea.
Care should be taken following rain as very strong currents are possible.
Saltwater Crocodiles are also to be found in some of the waterways in Tropical North Queensland and are most active in the summer breeding season. Take notice of warning signs & ask if in doubt. Be Croc Wise!
Marine Stingers (potentially lethal Jellyfish) may inhabit tropical waters during the warmer months from November to May. For those wishing to swim at Far Northern Beaches during this time, safe swimming enclosures (patrolled by the Surf Life Saving Association) provide increased protection during this time.
For more information on marine stingers, visit the James Cook University web site at www.jcu.edu.au/stingers
About Tropical Cyclones
What is a Tropical Cyclone?
Tropical Cyclones may form in the summer months over the ocean where the sea-surface temperature is above 26.5°C. They are low pressure systems that, in the Southern hemisphere, have a defined clockwise wind circulation with sustained gale force winds (63 km/h with gusts in excess of 90 km/h). The gale force winds can extend for hundreds of kilometres from the eye of the cyclone. When the sustained winds around the centre exceed 119 km/h the system is referred to as a severe tropical cyclone. Cyclones may be referred to as typhoons or hurricanes in other countries.
Once formed, cyclones may persist for many days often following quite erratic paths. They lose their energy over land and colder oceans.
The cyclone season generally lasts from November to April.
The eye of the cyclone.
The centre of the cyclone is referred to as the eye of the cyclone and typically has a diameter of around 40 km, although this may be as small as 10 km or large as 100 km. The eye is characterised by light winds and often clear skies surrounded by the eye wall, a dense ring of cloud about 16 km high which marks the belt of strongest winds and heaviest rainfall.
Tropical Cyclone Severity Categories.
Cyclones are categorised into 5 levels of severity with '1' representing the weakest system, and '5' representing the most severe. The category rating refers to the severity in the zone of maximum winds. Therefore the effects felt at different locations may not be exactly as described in the table below.
|Category||Strongest Gusts||Typical Effects|
1 Tropical Cyclone
Negligible house damage. Damage to some crops, trees and caravans. Craft may drag moorings.
2 Tropical Cyclone
Minor house damage. Significant damage to signs, trees and caravans. Heavy damage to some crops. Risk of power failure. Small craft may break moorings.
3 Severe Tropical Cyclone
Some roof and structural damage. Some caravans destroyed. Power failure likely.
4 Severe Tropical Cyclone
Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures.
5 Severe Tropical Cyclone
173 mph +
Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.
Cyclone Storm Surge
Storm surge generally occurs during a cyclone when strong winds combine with high tides to increase the high tide mark, potentially flooding low lying coastal areas. During storm surge, parts of Port Douglas (and other nearby coastal towns) may be required to evacuate.
What to do if Storm Surge is expected with a Tropical Cyclone.
- Familiarise yourself with the storm surge evacuation map for your area.
- Ensure all members of your household are familiar with your evacuation plan and the location of your emergency kit and evacuation kit.
- Move valuables to the first floor or, if evacuating, pack valuables in preparation.
- Prepare a sandbag (a plastic shopping bag with beach sand is ideal) for each drain (e.g. kitchen sink, shower drain...) and toilet in your house or business. If flooding does occur, sandbag the drains and toilets to prevent any sewerage backup from escaping.
Port Douglas Tropical Cyclone Watch
A Cyclone Watch is issued by the cyclone warning centre in Brisbane when a cyclone is expected to affect coastal or island areas within 48 hours. The Cyclone Watch Advice provides the current position, speed and direction of movement of the cyclone, how strong it is, and which areas it could affect. A Cyclone Watch is renewed every six hours.
What to do when a Tropical Cyclone Watch is issued.
- Re-check your property for any loose materials. Tie down or fill with water any items (like rubbish bins) that could fly around in strong winds.
- Fill water containers, check emergency kit, and fill vehicles with fuel.
- Ensure all members of the household know what is the strongest part of the house, and what to do in the event of a Cyclone Warning, storm surge, or evacuation.
- If storm surge is expected, prepare a sandbag (a plastic shopping bag with beach sand is ideal) for each drain (e.g. kitchen sink, shower drain...) and toilet in your house or business. If flooding does occur, sandbag the drains and toilets to prevent any sewerage backup from escaping.
A Cyclone Warning is issued by the cyclone warning centre in Brisbane when a cyclone with gale force (or stronger) winds is expected to affect coastal or island areas within 24 hours. The Cyclone Warning provides the current position, speed and movement of direction of the cyclone, how strong it is, and which areas it could affect. Forecasts of heavy rainfall, flooding and abnormally high tides are included where necessary. A Cyclone Warning is renewed every three hours, with hourly warnings issued if the cyclone moves closer to the coast and poses a major threat.
What to do when a Cyclone Warning is issued.
- Collect children from school or childcare and go home.
- Park vehicles under solid shelter.
- Put wooden or plastic outdoor furniture in the pool or bring inside withother loose items.
- Close shutters/board or tape windows.
- Re-check your Emergency Kit
- Remain indoors (with any pets) and stay tuned to local radio/TV for further information.
- Owners of moored vessels should begin to follow the Marina Mirage Cyclone Plan.
- Prepare an Evacuation Kit (in a waterproof bag)
- Warm clothes
- Essential medications
- Important papers
- Baby formula, nappies etc as needed
What To Do During and After a Tropical Cyclone
During a Cyclone
Stay indoors! Stay calm! Shelter in the strongest part of the house and use blankets or a matress for protection if needed. If a storm surge or flooding is predicted, sandbag all indoor drains (e.g. kitchen sink, shower drain) and toilets to prevent sewerage backup. Listen to your radio for updates and be aware that lower winds and rainfall could indicate the eye of the cyclone.
After a Cyclone
Don't go outside until advised that it is safe, and once outside beware damaged power lines, buildings and trees. Avoid floodways!. Listen to local radio for warnings, updates and advice.