After meandering westward over the Coral Sea last week and crossing northern Queensland, Tropical Cyclone Owen redeveloped over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday. At 10:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Owen was located at latitude 14.9°S and longitude 138.4°E which put it about 135 miles (215 km) north-northwest of Mornington Island, Australia. Owen was moving toward the west-northwest 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 993 mb.
The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Owen exhibited increased organization after it moved over the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reclassified the system as a tropical cyclone on Tuesday. A band of showers and thunderstorms was wrapping around the southern and western sides of the center of circulation and the strongest winds were occurring in that band of storms. Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were strengthening over the Gulf of Carpentaria. Storms near the center of circulation started to generate upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.
A Tropical Cyclone Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Cape Shield, Northern Territory to Burketown, Queensland including Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island.
Tropical Cyclone Owen will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days. Owen will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. It will move in an area between an upper level ridge north of Australia and a larger upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean where the upper level winds are weaker. There will be some vertical wind shear, but the wind shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification. Tropical Cyclone Owen will intensify during the next two days and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.
The ridge north of Australia will steer Tropical Cyclone Owen toward the west-northwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Owen could be near Groote Eylandt in about 24 hours. An upper level trough over Western Australia will move eastward and the trough will cause the winds in the steering levels to weaken in a day or so. Owen could drift slowly southward for 12 to 24 hours when that happens. Eventually, westerly winds blowing around the northern end of the trough are forecast to turn Tropical Cyclone Owen back toward the east.
Tropical Cyclone Owen could bring gusty winds and drop locally heavy rain over Groote Eylandt when it passes nearby. If Owen drifts southward as expected, it could also bring gusty winds and heavy rain to the western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria near Port McArthur.
After meandering westward across the Coral Sea during the past week a low pressure system formerly designated as Tropical Cyclone Owen dropped rain on northern Queensland on Sunday. At 7:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of former Tropical Cyclone Owen was located at latitude 15.7°S and longitude 144.5°E which put it about 75 miles (120 km) west of Cairns, Australia. Owen was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. The maximum sustained wind speed was 25 m.p.h. (40 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.
Although it is no longer formally designated as a tropical cyclone, the low pressure center that was Tropical Cyclone Owen maintains a distinct low level center of circulation. Bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the center. Some of those bands are moving inland over northern Queensland and they are dropping locally heavy rainfall. Flooding could develop in areas that receive persistent heavy rain.
Flood Watches are in effect for the Mulgrave River, Russell River, Johnstone River, Murray River, Tully River, and Herbert River.
Former Tropical Storm Owen is forecast to move toward the west-northwest across the Cape York Peninsula. It could emerge over the Gulf of Carpentaria early in the week. There is a possibility that the low pressure system could strengthen when it moves back over water.
Tropical Cyclone Owen developed over the Coral Sea on Sunday. Thunderstorms developed near the center of a tropical low over the Coral Sea and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Owen. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Owen was located at latitude 15.4°S and longitude 154.9°E which put it about 615 miles (990 km) east of Cairns, Australia. Owen was moving toward the south at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.
The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Owen became better organized on Sunday. A band of thunderstorms wrapped around the eastern and southern sides of the center of circulation. Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were developing in the eastern half of the circulation. Bands in the western half of Tropical Cyclone Owen consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone Owen will move through an environment marginally favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours. Owen will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C. It will move through a region where the upper level winds will blow from the west. Those winds will blow toward the top of the circulation and they are already causing moderate vertical wind shear. The wind shear is the likely reason why most of the stronger thunderstorms are developing in the eastern half of the circulation. The westerly winds will inhibit upper level divergence to the west of the tropical cyclone and the wind shear will limit intensification. Tropical Cyclone Owen could strengthen during the next day or two, but the wind shear is likely to weaken Owen later this week.
Tropical Cyclone Owen will move north of a subtropical ridge in the middle troposphere. The ridge is forecast to turn Owen toward the west and to steer the tropical cyclone toward the west during the next few days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Owen is forecast to move slowly westward during the next several days. Owen could be east of Willis Island in three or four days.