Tag Archives: SH 17

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.