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    2017 Asia autumn forecast: Drought to ease in southern India; Tropical threats to continue in Pacific and Indian Oceans

    By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    August 23, 2017, 2:48:32 PM EDT

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    Rain will ease drought conditions in southern India while tropical cyclones may pack a punch along part of the Indian Ocean coastline and typhoons threaten the Philippines, eastern China and Japan.

    Tropical Pacific water temperatures to remain near average

    El Niño failed to develop late this summer and is unlikely to develop this autumn.

    When sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific enter a warmer than average cycle for a few months or more, an El Niño is declared. When waters in the same area are cooler than average for a few months or longer, a La Niña is declared.

    A neutral phase is in progress and is likely to continue for several months.

    The neutral conditions in the El Niño/La Niña cycle will pose some forecast challenges. In this phase, a tug of war is likely to take place with weather patterns.

    Static 2017 Asia autumn outlook map

    Near-average typhoon season, usual threats are forecast

    “We expect the weather pattern to keep the main risk of tropical storms and typhoons focused from the Philippines to eastern China into the first part of autumn,” according to AccuWeather Lead Global Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

    “As the autumn progresses, steering winds will change and guide tropical storms and typhoons east of Japan, while the risk will continue for the Philippines.”

    Despite the neutral El Niño/La Niña conditions, we are not projecting a change in the number of tropical storms and typhoons over the western Pacific for the balance of the year.

    "Our forecast number of tropical storms and typhoons accounted for neutral to weak El Niño conditions this year," according to AccuWeather Tropical Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski.

    AccuWeather is projecting a total of 16 typhoons in the western Pacific through the end of the year. This includes the four typhoons and 13 tropical storms that have occurred as of Aug. 22.

    Static 2017 Typhoon Forecast 5-9-17

    Through mid-August, Noru has been the only super typhoon with sustained winds of 260 km/h (160 mph).

    Tropical cyclones may threaten lives and property surrounding Indian Ocean

    Over the Indian Ocean, there is the risk for at least a couple of tropical systems to make landfall this autumn.

    The best chance for tropical depressions or cyclones in the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea will be during October and November.

    “However, during September, one or two systems may be declared a depression over the northern Bay of Bengal and could strike northeastern India,” Nicholls said. “Formation of a depression off the Gujarat in northwestern India cannot be ruled out early on as well.”

    Rain to reduce drought for southern India

    Aside from tropical systems, the weather over much of southeastern Asia will be governed as it always is by the retreat of the southwest and eastern Asia monsoons and the advance of the northeast monsoon.

    This summer's southwest monsoon contributed to major flooding in parts of northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh. As the southwest monsoon retreats, drier air will invade some areas hit hard by flooding.

    Static AP SE Asia Flood Aug 19, 2017

    Villagers stand inside their house destroyed by floodwaters at Katihar district, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. Heavy monsoon rains have unleashed landslides and floods that killed hundreds of people in recent days and displaced millions more across northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

    Wet weather early will be followed by drier conditions later on from northeastern China and the North China Plains to Japan.

    The pattern will bring near- to above-average rainfall to much of southeastern Asia with the bulk of the rain likely during October and November.

    Rainfall from the summer southwest monsoon and last year’s northeast monsoon was lower than average in southern India. Drought this summer became severe in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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    “We expect significant rain early this autumn in much of southern India, but we are concerned rains will diminish faster than what typically occurs during November and December,” Nicholls said.

    Winter chill may come early in Middle East, central Siberia

    Over part of western and central Asia, a substantial swing in the weather pattern is likely.

    There is the potential for the storm track to drop plunge well to the south as the autumn progresses.

    “Following a warmer-than-average start to the season, some significant blasts of chilly air can push from the Ukraine to Turkey, Cypress, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Iraq and perhaps northern Saudi Arabia later on,” Nicholls said.

    Following the excessive heat wave during the summer of 2017 in much of the region, the upcoming chill might be a refreshing change to some people in the region.

    From the start of June to the middle of August, temperatures averaged 2 C (nearly 4 F) above normal in Jerusalem and 2.4 (4.4 F) above normal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    The upcoming pattern may also bring some sporadic rain events, gusty winds, dust storms and cooler air to some lower elevations of Iran, Afghanistan and northern Pakistan late in the season.

    “The same pattern may allow a quick buildup of snow cover to occur across northern Kazakhstan and parts of Siberia during the middle to latter part of autumn,” Nicholls said.

    As waves of cool air ramp up, there will be a chance of an early frost or freeze in parts of northern China. Blasts of winter chill may extend beyond Siberia and into Mongolia and northeastern China later in the season.

    Much of the area from the southern Arabian Peninsula to India and southeastern Asia can expect a warmer-than-average autumn.

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