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Tropical Cyclone Oma update

Ben Domensino, Monday February 18, 2019 - 10:37 EDT

If you live in eastern Australia, be aware of Tropical Cyclone Oma, but don't be alarmed.

On Monday morning, Tropical Cyclone Oma was located about 350km west of Vanuatu, 400km north of New Caledonia and more than 1,500km to the east of Queensland.

Image: Combined visible/infrared satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Oma

The category two tropical cyclone will pass close to New Caledonia on Tuesday morning and may cause damaging to destructive winds, heavy rain and flooding in northern parts of the country.

Cyclone Oma will continue travelling towards the southwest on Tuesday and Wednesday, taking the system further into the Coral Sea and a bit closer to Australia.

The movement of Tropical Cyclone Oma during the second half of this week becomes difficult to predict. Most computer models indicate that Oma will turn south and possibly head towards New Zealand as an extra-tropical cyclone on the weekend.

Some models suggest that Oma could turn towards Australia's east coast later this week. While this scenario can't be ruled out just yet, it's considered an outlier and unlikely to happen.

Regardless of its eventual path later in the week, Tropical Cyclone Oma is going to send a large and powerful swell towards eastern Australia in the coming days.

Oma will pass directly through eastern Australia’s swell window this week, which means the system’s powerful winds will drive a long range swell straight towards the nation’s east coast and nothing will get in its way.

Waves heights are likely to increase in southeast Queensland from Wednesday and in NSW on Thursday. Depending on the future path of Oma, waves could continue to build further later in the week.

This long-range swell will produce powerful and dangerous surf and possibly coastal erosion along a large stretch of eastern Australia.

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