METEOROLOGIST, DR ADAM MORGAN: Hello from the Bureau with an update on what looks like will be our first tropical cyclone for the season, well offshore from Queensland in the northern Coral Sea.
We’ve been tracking this tropical low over the past couple of days as it’s passed close by the Solomon Islands and then drifted further to the south. Sea surface temperatures in the area are currently sitting at around 29 degrees Celsius – more than warm enough to support cyclone formation – and the wind structure in the upper atmosphere is also becoming more favourable as well.
What this means is that we’ll see the low – currently about 1000 km offshore from Cairns to the ENE – continue to develop throughout this afternoon, and then likely reach Category 1 tropical cyclone intensity by late tonight. This will be the first tropical cyclone for the 2018/19 season in the Australian region and will take the name “Owen” as soon as it reaches cyclone strength.
Into Monday, the current official forecast track shows the cyclone move a little further to the south, and possibly reaching Category 2 intensity during the day. Then from Tuesday, a range of possible outcomes are still possible for how the cyclone may move, and that’s shown by just how broad this grey, shaded area is on the map, surrounding the official forecast track, which does push the system a little further to the west.
The good news is that at the moment, all indications are that the system will weaken below cyclone strength if it does take that west to southwesterly path along the official forecast track shown here.
So, whilst the system remains well away from the coast for now and poses no immediate threat to the Queensland community, as we all know, cyclone situations can change rapidly.
Make sure to check back with the Bureau on our website, app and social media over the coming days for the latest cyclone forecasts and information.