Tag Archives: Coral Sea

Former Tropical Cyclone Owen Drops Rain on Northern Queensland

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 Develops Over the Coral Sea

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.

Tropical Cyclone Iris Weakens East of Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Iris weakened over the Coral Sea east of Queensland on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Iris was located at latitude 19.6°S and longitude 152.3°E which put it about 230 miles (370 km) east-northeast of Mackay, Australia.  Iris was moving toward the east-southeast at 4 m.p.h. (6 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 990 mb.

An upper level ridge east of Australia was producing strong northwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of Tropical Cyclone Iris.  Those winds were causing strong vertical wind shear which weakened Iris on Wednesday.  The stronger thunderstorms were occurring in bands southeast of the center of circulation.  The bands in other parts of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  The wind shear was not quite strong enough to blow the top off of the circulation, but the shear was preventing upper level divergence on the northern side of Tropical Cyclone Iris.

Tropical Cyclone Iris will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  So, there is enough energy in the upper ocean to support a tropical cyclone.  However, the upper level ridge will continue to cause strong vertical wind shear and Tropical Cyclone Iris is likely to slowly weaken during the next several days.

Tropical Cyclone Iris is moving slowly toward the east-southeast.  If the vertical wind shear blows the top half of the circulation away to the southeast, then Iris would be steered by the winds in the lower atmosphere.  A high pressure system in the lower atmosphere over Australia would begin to steer Tropical Cyclone Iris back toward the northwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to remain east of Queensland.  Rainbands on the western periphery have occasionally brought rain to the coast of Queensland, but most of the rain is falling over the ocean.

Tropical Cyclone Iris Prompts Warnings for Queensland

The proximity of Tropical Cyclone Iris prompted the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to issued Warnings and Watches for the east coast of Queensland on Monday.  A Warning was issued for the portion of the coast from Ayr to Sarina including Mackay and the Whitsunday Islands.  A Watch was issued for the portion of the coast from Sarina to St. Lawrence.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Iris was located at latitude 17.1°S and longitude 149.0°E which put it about 210 miles (335 km) northeast of Townsville, Australia.  Iris was moving toward the southeast at 3 m.p.h. (4 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Iris was asymmetrical.  Most of the showers and thunderstorms were located south and east of the center of circulation.  The bands north and west of the center consisted primarily of low clouds and showers.  Tropical Cyclone Iris was near the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge was producing northwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were producing moderate vertical wind shear and they were probably responsible for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.

Tropical Cyclone Iris will be moving through an environment marginally favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Iris will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  However, the upper level ridge will continue to produce moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will be strong enough to inhibit intensification.  If the strength of the upper level winds slows, then Tropical Cyclone Iris could strengthen, but if the upper level winds get faster, then Iris will weaken.  The forecast is for slow intensification, but there is high uncertainty about the intensity forecast.

The subtropical ridge east of Iris is steering Tropical Cyclone Iris slowly toward the southeast.  A general motion toward the southeast is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to stay east of the coast of Queensland.  However, Tropical Cyclone Iris could come close enough to the coast to bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to locations under Warnings and Watches.

Tropical Cyclone Iris Redevelops East of Queensland.

Tropical Cyclone Iris redeveloped east of Queensland on Sunday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Iris was located at latitude 16.9°S and longitude 148.7°E which put it about 190 miles (310 km) east of Cairns, Australia.  Iris was moving toward the southwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 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.

Tropical Cyclone Iris formed over the Coral Sea last week but wind strong vertical shear quickly weakened Iris into an area of low pressure.  The low pressure system meandered over the Coral Sea east of Australia during the past few days.  More thunderstorms developed near the center of circulation on Sunday and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Iris again.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Iris was still reorganizing on Sunday night.  A distinct low level center of circulation was evident on visible satellite images.  More thunderstorms were developing near the center.  A primary rainband wrapped around the northern, eastern and southern sides of the center of circulation.  Bands northwest of the center consisted mainly of showers and low clouds.  Storms near the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Iris will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification on Monday.  Iris will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is 29°C.  It is moving around the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing northwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear and they may have been the reason for the lack of strong rainbands northwest of the center of circulation.  The wind shear is likely to inhibit intensification, but it probably won’t prevent Tropical Cyclone Iris from intensifying on Monday.

Tropical Cyclone Iris was moving around the western end of a subtropical ridge which was steering Iris toward the southwest.  Iris will likely move more toward the south and then southeast as it rounds the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Iris is expected to remain east of Queensland.

Elsewhere over the South Pacific Ocean Tropical Cyclone Josie was swirling south of Fiji.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Josie was located at latitude 21.1°S and longitude 178.1°E which put it about 185 miles (300 km) south of Suva, Fiji.  Josie was moving toward the south-southeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 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 999 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola Passes Near Iles Loyaute

Tropical Cyclone Hola passed near the Iles Loyaute (Loyalty Islands) on Friday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 20.9°S and longitude 168.0°E which put it about 175 miles (280 km) northeast of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Hola was moving toward the southeast at 19 m.p.h. (31 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 969 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Hola exhibited signs of weakening on Friday.  The eye appeared and disappeared intermittently.  There were occasional breaks in the rings of thunderstorms around the intermittent eye.  The distribution of rainbands became more asymmetrical.  All of the stronger bands were south and east of the center of circulation.  The bands north and west of the center consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  An upper level trough off the east coast of Australia was producing northwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were also causing moderate vertical wind shear and they may have tilted the upper portion of the circulation toward the southeast.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will weaken during the next few days.  Hola will initially pass over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  However, the upper level trough will continue to cause moderate vertical wind shear which will weaken Hola.  Tropical Cyclone Hola will also move over colder water when it moves farther to the south.  The colder water and vertical wind shear will cause the structure of Tropical Cyclone Hola to transition gradually to an extratropical cyclone during the next several days.

The upper level trough is pushing Tropical Cyclone Hola toward the southeast and a general southeasterly motion will continue.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Hola will move away from the Iles Loyaute and New Caledonia.  Hola could approach northern New Zealand in a couple of days.

The strongest winds and heavy rain were occurring on the eastern side of Tropical Cyclone Hola.  Hola will continue to bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Iles Loyaute until it moves away.  It should have minimal impacts on New Caledonia.  Tropical Cyclone Hola could make landfall on the North Island of New Zealand in two or three days.  It could be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time and it could bring strong wind and heavy rain to parts of northern New Zealand.

Tropical Cyclone Hola Stalls Between Vanuatu and New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Hola stalled between Vanuatu and New Caledonia on Thursday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 18.4°S and longitude 165.5°E which put it about 200 miles (320 km) west of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the south at 2 m.p.h. (3 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 961 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola weakened slightly while it move slowly between Vanuatu and New Caledonia.  The small eye was no longer visible on satellite images.  Thunderstorms were still occurring in the core of the circulation.  Most of the bands of showers and thunderstorms were in the eastern half of the circulation.  There were fewer thunderstorms west of the center of circulation.  The wind field exhibited a similar asymmetrical distribution.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) in the eastern half of the circulation and about 100 miles (160 km) in the western half of the circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment marginally favorable for intensification on Friday.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough east of Australia will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause increasing vertical wind shear and the shear could become strong enough to inhibit intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Hola could intensify during the next 12 to 24 hours, but it will begin to weaken when the shear increases.

Tropical Cyclone Hola is near the western end of a subtropical ridge and it was in a region where the steering winds were weak on Thursday.  The upper level trough east of Australia will start to steer Hola toward the southeast on Friday.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola could approach the Iles Loyaute (the Loyalty Islands) within 24 hours.  Hola will likely still be the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Hola Brings Wind and Rain to Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Hola brought strong winds and heavy rain to Vanuatu on Wednesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 17.4°S and longitude 165.5°E  which put it about 180 miles (290 km) west of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the west-southwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola intensified rapidly into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  A very small circular eye developed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms formed around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Rainbands were revolving around the core of the Tropical Cyclone Hola.  The strongest rainbands were occurring in the eastern side of the circulation.  The rainbands were weaker in the western half of Hola.  Storms around the core of the circulation were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.  The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Hola was fairly small.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 120 miles (195 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 24 to 36 hours.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is moving under a region where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Hola is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and it could become the equivalent of a major hurricane.

Tropical Cyclone Hola was moving around the northwestern end of a subtropical ridge which was steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-northwest.  Hola is forecast to turn more toward the south when it rounds the end of the ridge on Thursday.  It could move toward the southeast when it moves farther south.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Hola could approach New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute in a little over 24 hours.

Rainbands in the eastern half of Tropical Cyclone Hola brought gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of Vanuatu on Wednesday.  Wind and rain could increase over New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute by Friday.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi Develops Near New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Fehi developed over the Coral Sea near New Caledonia on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was located at latitude 19.7°S and longitude 162.2°E which put it about 360 miles (580 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Fehi was moving toward the south-southeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (90 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was not well organized for much of Sunday, but it exhibited signs of greater organization in recent hours.  An upper level low near eastern Australia was producing strong northwesterly winds that were blowing over the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused strong vertical wind shear for much of Sunday, but the shear appeared to decrease on Sunday night.  A distinct low level center of circulation was exposed on recent visible satellite images.  Most of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands south of the center of circulation.  More bands of showers and low clouds seemed to be forming in the northern half of the circulation.  A rainband appeared to be wrapping around the northern side of the circulation.  There was some upper level divergence to the southeast of Tropical Cyclone Fehi.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi will be moving through an environment that will be marginally favorable for intensification during the next day or two.  Fehi is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level low will continue to cause vertical wind shear, but the shear may be small enough to allow for intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could intensify during the next 24 hours.  When Fehi moves farther south, it will move over much cooler water and the tropical cyclone will start to weaken.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could make a transition to an extratropical cyclone in two or three days.

The upper low near eastern Australia is steering Tropical Cyclone Fehi toward the south-southeast.  A general motion toward the southeast is expected during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi is forecast to pass west of New Caledonia.  Although the center is likely to pass to the west of New Caledonia, rainbands on the eastern side of Fehi could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  Heavy could cause flash floods.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could approach New Zealand in about three days.  Fehi could be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time.

Tropical Low Forms Northeast of Queensland

A Tropical Low organized quickly northeast of Queensland over the Coral Sea on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of the Tropical Low was located at latitude 16.1°S and longitude 151.4°E which put it about 370 miles (600 km) northeast of Townsville, Australia.  The Tropical Low as moving toward the south at 9 m.p.h. (15 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 1005 mb.

The low level circulation of the Tropical Low organized quickly on Thursday.  Numerous bands of showers and thunderstorms formed and they began to wrap around a center of circulation.  The distribution of showers and thunderstorms was relatively symmetrical, although there are a few more storms in the eastern half of the circulation.  Storms closer to the center started to generate upper level divergence.

The Tropical Low is in an environment that is very favorable for intensification.  The low is over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are light and there is very little vertical wind shear.  The Tropical Low is likely to continue to organize quickly in the favorable environment and it will likely become a named tropical cyclone on Friday.  Once thunderstorms consolidate around the center of circulation, a period of rapid intensification may occur.

The Tropical Low is currently being steered to the south and that motion could continue for another 12 to 24 hours.  A strengthening subtropical ridge is forecast to turn the Tropical Low toward the west in about 24 hours.  On its anticipated track the Tropical Low could approach the coast of Queensland in about three days.