Weather News

Potential Tropical Cyclone Claudia expected to form on Saturday

By Lauren Roberts, Thursday January 9, 2020 - 14:59 EDT

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a tropical low will no longer be at cyclone strength when it reaches Darwin on Saturday morning.

But the Tiwi Islands and Darwin are still in the cyclone watch zone, as the Bureau continues to monitor a slow-moving tropical low as it moves over land near Maningrida.

BOM's Jude Scott said the low was moving over land in a westerly direction.

"It will continue to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to coastal locations right across the Top End coast," Ms Scott said.

"We're likely to see some localised flash flooding take place in those communities where the heavy rainfall is going to fall and that's really right across the Top End northern coast."

Ms Scott said Top End communities, including the Cobourg Peninsula, could expect to see 100-200mm of rainfall.

Hazards persist

The Northern Territory Emergency Service urged communities under cyclone watch to finalise their cyclone preparations and seek shelter when wind and rain arrived.

NT Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Hebb said conditions were expected to worsen from Friday lunchtime.

He asked boaties to check conditions before heading out and advised Territorians to limit unnecessary driving.

"If it's flooded, forget it," Commissioner Hebb said.

BOM said gales were no longer expected in coastal areas within the next 24 hours, but could develop later if a tropical cyclone developed over the Van Diemen Gulf or Timor Sea later on Friday or early Saturday.

Higher-than-normal tides are likely, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding during high tide today and on Friday morning.

Heavy rainfall and localised flooding was expected about the north coast, including the Cobourg Peninsula, today.

A 'rapid' change in cyclone's path

Earlier forecasts by the bureau predicted the tropical low would develop into a cyclone, called Tropical Cyclone Claudia, early this morning and would hit Darwin as a category one cyclone.

This transition did not unfold as predicted.

"The low is moving so close to land that this has hindered its development into a tropical cyclone during the night," the bureau said.

As Ms Scott explained, the system changed its position "rapidly" in the early hours of Thursday.

"The system took a sudden track towards the north eastern coast of the Top End," she said.

"Which meant the system did not have enough time over the warm waters of the Arafura Sea to intensify to tropical cyclone strength."

Ms Scott said as the system was now over land, it would not get the opportunity to draw energy from water and it was not likely to intensify into a cyclone before it reached the NT capital.

"Cyclones, each and every one are different," she said.

"Darwin is still under cyclone watch, because the main threat we will be considering is the influence of gale force winds."


© ABC 2020

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