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All eyes on Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen

Ben Domensino, Monday December 10, 2018 - 14:21 EDT

The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Owen brought more than 300mm of rain to parts of northeast Queensland as it made landfall on Monday morning. Now, the system threatens to redevelop into a tropical cyclone over the Gulf of Carpentaria during the coming days.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen made landfall near Port Douglas during in the early hours of Monday morning. While the low pressure system was below tropical cyclone strength as it approached and crossed the coast, it still brought cyclonic weather to the state's North Tropical Coast district.

During the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, widespread falls of 100-200mm were recorded throughout the North Tropical Coast. Some of the highest totals were 349mm at Kirrama Range and 286mm at Flaggy Creek, while Cairns Racecourse collected 205mm, its heaviest rain in nearly four years. In addition to the rain, wind gusts reached 100km/h at Low Isles and 87km/h at Cairns Airport early on Monday.

The remnants of Owen are currently moving across the base of Cape York Peninsula and should enter the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday. Here, the system will encounter water temperatures over 31 degrees, which will allow it to gain strength and possibly reintensify into a tropical cyclone during the middle of this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology gives Owen a 20-50 per cent chance of redeveloping into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday.

After the remnants of Owen move over the Gulf of Carpentaria and likely intensify, where it then goes no one knows. Forecast models show a range of possibilities regarding its movement and strength during the second half of this week. A number of models suggest that the system will move back towards northern Queensland late in the week, however it's too early to know with any certainty.

Anyone living in northern parts of Queensland or the Northern Territory should closely monitor warnings and forecasts throughout the rest of this week.

Owen will retain its original name if it does redevelop into a tropical cyclone.

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