Tropical Cyclone Claudia Develops Northwest of Australia

Tropical Cyclone Claudia developed northwest of Australia on Saturday.  At 1:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Claudia was located at latitude 13.2°S and longitude 125.4°E which put it about 155 miles (250 km) north-northeast of Kuri Bay, Australia.  Claudia was moving toward the west-southwest at 11 m.p.h. (18 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a Warning for the portion of the coast of Western Australia from Kalumburu to Beagle Bay.  The Warning zone includes Kuri Bay and Cape Leveque.

A Tropical Low moved westward across northern Australia late last week.  The circulation around the low pressure system began to organize when the system moved over Timor Sea west of Darwin on Saturday.  The wind speed increased and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Claudia.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the northern and eastern sides of the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms formed quickly in other bands north and west of the center.  There were fewer thunderstorms in rainbands south and east of the center, but much of that part of the circulation was still over western Australia.  Storms near the center of circulation began to generate upper level divergence which pumped mass to the west of the tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Claudia will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Claudia will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move around the northwestern part of an upper level ridge centered over Australia.  The ridge will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the tropical cyclone.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The wind shear will slow the rate of intensification but it will not be strong enough to keep Tropical Cyclone Claudia from strengthening.  Claudia could intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 to 48 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Claudia will move around the northwestern part of a high pressure system over Australia.  The high will steer Claudia toward the west-southwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Claudia will move parallel to the coast of Western Australia.  The core of Claudia with the strongest winds is forecast to remain offshore.