Tropical Low Forms Northwest of Australia

A Tropical Low formed over the South Indian Ocean northwest of Australia on Saturday.  At 1:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of a Tropical Low was located at latitude 14.3°S and longitude 121.9°E which put it about 255 miles (410 km) north of Broome, Australia.  It was moving toward the south-southwest at 4 m.p.h. (6 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

A Watch was issued for the portion of Western Australia from Mitchell Plateau to Wallal Downs.

The circulation around the Tropical Low was still organizing.  It did not have a well developed center of circulation.  There was a clockwise rotation around a broad center.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were beginning to form in the outer regions of the circulation.  Upper level divergence was pumping mass away from the Tropical Low and the surface pressure was decreasing.

The Tropical Low will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The Tropical Low will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  The Tropical Low is likely to intensify into a named tropical cyclone and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

The Tropical Low will move around the western end of a high pressure system centered near the north coast of Australia.  The high will steer the Tropical Low toward the south-southwest.  On its anticipated track the Tropical Low could approach the coast of Western Australia southwest of Cape Leveque in a day or two.