Tropical Cyclone Blake Strengthens Near Western Australia

Tropical Cyclone Blake strengthened near Western Australia on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Blake was located at latitude 16.1°S and longitude 121.9°E which put it about 140 miles (220 km) north of Broome, Australia.  Blake was moving toward the east-southeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 995 mb.

A Warning has been issued for the portion of the coast of Western Australia from Kuri Bay to De Grey including Broome.  A Watch has been issued for the portion of the coast from De Grey to Whims Creek including Port Hedland.

The circulation around a Tropical Low over the South Indian Ocean northwest of Australia became more organized on Sunday night and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Blake.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the southern and western sides of the center of circulation.  Storms near the center of circulation began to generate upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in a primary rainband on the eastern side of Blake.  Bands in other parts of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 150 miles (240 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Blake will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Blake will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Blake will continue to intensify and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

The center of Tropical Cyclone Blake shifted eastward on Sunday as the circulation reorganized closer to the inner end of the primary rainband.  Blake will move around the western end of a high pressure system centered near northern Australia.  The high will steer Blake toward the south-southwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Blake will pass just west of Broome in about 24 hours.  Blake could make landfall on the coast of Western Australia near Wallal Downs in about 36 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Blake will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the coast of Western Australia.