Weather News

Thunderstorm hits Darwin as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther traverses the NT

Ben Domensino, Thursday February 27, 2020 - 10:55 EDT

The remnant low pressure system that was formerly Tropical Cyclone Esther is passing over the Northern Territory, causing heavy rain and severe thunderstorms.

On Thursday morning, thunderstorms forming on the outer rainbands of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther swept over the western Top End, prompting a severe thunderstorm warning for damaging winds in and around Darwin.

Image: Satellite image of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther on Thursday morning.

Gusts of up to 72km/h were recorded on Darwin Harbour as the storms swept through, with Darwin Airport receiving 12mm in under an hour.

Further inland and closer to the centre of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther, 178mm of rain fell at Batchelor Airport and 148mm at Victoria River Downs during the 24 hours to 9am CST on Thursday. This was Batchelor's highest daily total since 2009, although there are a few small gaps in the record.

Esther's remnant low pressure system will continue to cause heavy rain and potentially damaging winds over the NT's Gregory and Daly districts on Thursday, before moving over WA's Kimberley from Friday into the weekend.

The tropical low is likely to move close to the Kimberley coast this weekend. If it travels offshore, it may quickly reintensify and become a tropical cyclone once again. However, most forecast models suggest that the low will remain over land into the start of next week.

Where Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther goes next week is difficult to tell at this stage. There are indications that it could track towards the south or southwest, possibly carrying heavy rain through central Australia.

With a fair bit of uncertainty surrounding this system's movement beyond the weekend, anyone living in the NT or the northern half of WA should keep a close eye on forecasts and warnings during the coming days.

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