Tropical Low Develops Near West Timor

A tropical low developed near West Timor on Saturday. At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of the tropical low was located at latitude 10.6°S and longitude 123.6°E which put it about 30 miles (50 km) west of Kupang, Indonesia. The tropical low was nearly stationary. The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1003 mb.

An area of low pressure near West Timor exhibited more organization on Saturday and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology classified the system as a tropical low. Visible and microwave satellite images showed a distinct low level center of circulation. More thunderstorms formed near the center of the tropical low. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation. Storms near the center began to generate upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the tropical low.

The tropical low will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days. The tropical low will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures will be near 30°C. It will move under the axis of an upper level ridge. The winds are weak near the axis of the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. The tropical low is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a tropical storm during the next 24 hours. It could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon by early next week.

The tropical low will be in an area where the steering winds are weak during the next 24 hours. It will remain near West Timor during that time. Thunderstorms in rainbands will drop locally heavy rain and flash floods could occur. A high pressure system over Australia will begin to steer the tropical low toward the southwest in a day or so. On its anticipated track the system will remain northwest of Western Australia during the next few days.