We're a nation of weather junkies, and when Mother Nature throws us her worst, we're even more captivated.
As Cyclone Yasi intensified into a Category 5 storm last year, the Bureau of Meteorology website went into overdrive – recording 13,000 hits per second.
But it's not just when disaster strikes that Aussies want weather information. Over the last seven months the Bureau’s website has received 21 billion hits - that's more than three times the world’s population. The most hits came from New South Wales residents - they clocked up more than 6.3 billion. Victoria was a close second with 6.1 billion, and Queensland third with 4.6 billion hits.More stories from Today Tonight
According to Hitwise, it's ranked eleventh on the list of Australia’s most popular websites - coming in higher than the Commonwealth Bank, Bing, Google Maps and Apple.
And then there are the fanatics who take it to the extreme - Aussie storm chasers who go where no one else dares, into the eye of a cyclone.
Thankfully most of us try to avoid the worst weather, and now it's as easy as touching a button on your smartphone.
Andrea Peace from the Bureau of Meteorology says recent wild weather has turned us into forecast fanatics.
“We've had some extreme weather and we’ve seen many floods and tropical cyclones and thunderstorms, which have affected so many people,” she said.
Meteorologist Dick Whittaker from the Weather Channel says it's all because of La Nina, which creates cooler temperatures and more rain. We've been affected by the phenomenon for around two years now, and Whittaker says it will continue into this Autumn.
“Much of northern and eastern Australia will be wetter than average, but as far as Victoria and Tasmania are concerned, drier than average signals are emerging there,” he said.
But we could be in for a big change. Robert Rizzo has mastered the art of long range weather forecasting and says next summer “we may go back to El Nino, and as we know El Nino brings dry, hotter weather with bushfires, so I think the next natural disasters could be the bushfires.”
So should we take forecasts as gospel? “In terms of the seven day forecast, you can rely on the first five days, and the sixth and seventh days are a bit up in the air,” Rizzo said.
“Check the next day, and the next day, to see how it has progressed, because things can change very quickly.”This reporter is on Twitter at @tinekae
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