Droughts and dry, arid conditions are naturally occurring phenomena in Australia. Such an environment is conducive to wild fires, which are started mainly by lightning and can occur throughout the year, but typically emerge between October and April and are most prevalent during the Southern Hemisphere summer; they are part of the seasonal cycle in Australia. However, some years are worse than others, and the 2019-2020 wild fire season was especially bad.
IRIS has taken a long, fluctuating and serpentine trek since the tropical cyclone formed in the Coral Sea northeast of Australia on March 24. For a while IRIS weakened and was downgraded to a tropical low. The tropical low moved toward the northeastern coast of Australia and was upgraded again to tropical cyclone IRIS on April 2. The tropical cyclone has then moved generally southeastward parallel to the Australian coast.
Tropical Cyclone NORA produced heavy rainfall when it came ashore in northwestern Queensland on March 24, 2018 (GMT). NORA's peak intensity of 95 kts (109 mph) was reached when the tropical cyclone was located in the central northern Gulf Of Carpentaria. Winds had decreased slightly to 90 kts (104 mph) by landfall. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported that NORA produced over 110 mm (4.3 inches) of rain in 24 hours. Flooding, landslides, lost electrical power, and structural damage were also a companion of the tropical cyclone's arrival.
Tropical Cyclone Kelvin struck Northwestern Australia with winds reaching 54 knots as it crossed the Kimberley Coast. It brought flooding rains and damaging winds to the settlements and mining companies of the region. The storm intrigued meteorologists as it only developed a cloudless eye after making landfall, believed in part due to the heat flux generated by the warm desert the storm traveled over.
Over the past week extreme rainfall has drenched northeastern Australia. This is the heaviest rainfall in that area since tropical cyclone Debbie hit Queensland Australia in late March. Much of the recent extremely heavy rainfall was due to storms associated with a trough of low pressure slowly moving over northeastern Queensland from the Coral Sea. More than 100mm (3.9 inches) of rain in 24 hours was reported near Townsville in northern Queensland. A trough of low pressure moving eastward from central Australia has also been encroaching into western Queensland.