Weather News

Rain on the horizon as tropical cyclone activity increases near Australia

Ben Domensino, Tuesday January 7, 2020 - 11:29 EDT

Tropical Cyclone Blake will continue to cause severe weather in Western Australia during the next few days, despite visibly losing structure near the west Kimberley coast overnight.

After becoming Australia's first named tropical cyclone of the 2019/20 season on Monday morning, Blake passed over the west Kimberley coast to the north of Broome on Monday night.

Image: Enhanced infrared satellite image showing Tropical Cyclone Blake to the north of Broome on Monday evening.

Satellite images revealed that the structure of Tropical Cyclone Blake deteriorated significantly as it interacted with the land on Monday night. Cyclones thrive in open warm water and typically weaken if they move close to or over land.

Image: Enhanced infrared satellite image showing Tropical Cyclone Blake's deterioriated structure to the southwest of Broome. The larger mass of red-coloured cloud to the northeast of Broome is a mesoscale convective system (MCS), which is a large area of convective cloud producing rain and thunderstorms. The MCS is not a tropical cyclone.

Despite weakening, Blake moved back over water on Tuesday morning was still a category one tropical cyclone at 5am WST, located approximately 40 kilometres to the west northwest of Broome. Cyclone Blake and its outer rainbands will continue to cause rain, thunderstorms and potentially damaging winds over parts of the Kimberley and eastern Pilbara districts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Based on the current models, Blake should move towards the southwest near the west Kimberley coast on Tuesday, before making a second landfall somewhere along Eighty Mile Beach on Tuesday night or early on Wednesday morning. Following this second coastal crossing, Blake should weaken and move inland towards the Interior of WA.

Communities in the Kimberley, Pilbara and northern Interior of WA should check the latest tropical cyclone and flood advisories during the next few days.

- Tropical moisture heads south -

Looking ahead, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Blake are likely to head south and interact with a cold front passing over southern Australian during the second half of the week.

The combination of tropical moisture and the passage of a cold air mass over the southern Australia will lead to rain and thunderstorms in parts of WA, SA, Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, the ACT and Queensland between Thursday and Sunday.

Unfortunately, the front will be fast-moving and is likely to only cause a brief and relatively light burst of rain in fire-ravaged areas of southeastern Australia on Friday and Saturday.

- Another cyclone on the horizon -

There are also indications that another tropical cyclone could form to the north of the NT's Top End later this week.

A tropical low currently located over the Arafura Sea, to the east of Cape Wessel, is likely to move towards the south or southwest during the next few days. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, this low could develop into a tropical cyclone on Wednesday night before possibly approachoing the Top End's north coast later in the week.

If this low develops into a tropical cyclone, severe weather is likely to affect the northern Top End this week. There's a chance that this system could track towards the western Top End and impact the Darwin region this weekend, although it's too early to know with confidence just yet.

Image: Accumulated rain between Tuesday and Sunday according to the ECMWF-HRES model. This is one computer model's prediction of how much rain will fall in Australia during the rest of this week.

The next tropical cyclone to form in Australia's area of responsibility will be named Claudia.

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