Capital set for direct cyclone hit

This year’s monsoon season is as much as a month late, but within a week, two cyclones are likely to have formed.

Both could “pack a punch”, forecasters have said.

Just as Tropical Cyclone Blake dissipates over Western Australia, another one is brewing off the Top End. If it forms into a full-blown tropical cyclone it will take the name Claudia.

Tropical Cyclone Claudia is likely to be designated as such on Thursday morning, Sky News Weather Channel metrologist Tom Saunders said on Wednesday.

“We could have tropical cyclone in the vicinity of Darwin this weekend,” he said.

Current wind conditions in Australia show ex-Tropical Cyclone Blake (left) and a tropical low (top) spinning off the NT that will likely form into Tropical Cyclone Claudia by Thursday. Picture: EarthschoolSource:Supplied

Currently, it’s a tropical low sitting off the north coast of the Top End near Nhulunbuy and Elcho Island.

“It’s forecast to hit the coast east of Darwin on Saturday but the cone (the possible area it could move in) is quite large so it could remain offshore,” Mr Saunders said.

Claudia is likely to be a category 2 cyclone when it hits land at around late on Thursday or early Friday and will then power down to a category 1 storm by the time it hits Darwin a day later.

“Either way, what we will see in Darwin is finally some heavy rain to kick on from Friday,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting 25-80mm of rain in Darwin on Friday and 15-50mm on Saturday with highs of around 30C or so. The downpours could be even higher in coastal communities in Arnhem Land and the islands.

While Claudia is likely to be well below a huge category 5 storm, it can still involve destructive wind gusts up to 164km/h, storm surges and flooding and cause damage to houses, trees, caravans and crops and power failure.

The populations considered most at risk are the remote indigenous communities of Maningrida and Goulburn Island.

“The weather impacts from this cyclone system will be dangerous and we are expecting gale-force winds in the region of 90km/h that could be sustained over a great deal of hours from Friday,” BOM acting NT manager Jude Scott said.

The future tropical cyclone could have a direct hit with Darwin on Saturday, although it could also swerve off into the sea. Picture: BSCH

The future tropical cyclone could have a direct hit with Darwin on Saturday, although it could also swerve off into the sea. Picture: BSCHSource:Supplied

“It will continue to bring heavy rain and lashing winds to most parts of the Top End.”

NT Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Hebb urged people in the affected areas to prepare for the cyclone, monitor emergency websites and ABC radio and not cross flooded roads.

“Know where your shelters are in whatever community you are in, have an emergency cyclone kit,” he said.

“You may need to plan for a cyclone kit of up to 72 hours that is able to sustain you and your family … should a cyclone impact your region area it could be some time before you get assistance.”

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Blake may be on the wane but it’s not done yet. Now a low, it will head into northwest Western Australia close to Port Hedland and through Marble Bar and Newman.

“Blake is expected to continue to pack a punch, though, as more heavy rainfall across the region as it heads towards the south,” Sky News Weather Channel metrologist Alison Osborne said on Wednesday.

Expect storms and showers across the Pilbara that could include up to 60mm of rain on Thursday in some inland areas.


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