Tag Archives: SH17

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 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 Frances Intensifies Into Equivalent of a Hurricane

Tropical Cyclone Frances intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Friday as it moved northwest of Australia.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Frances was located at latitude 12.6°S and longitude 124.1°E which put it about 200 miles (325 km) north of Kuri Bay, Australia.  Frances was moving toward the west-southwest at 9 m.p.h. (14 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 981 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Frances intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon when it moved through a favorable environment.  Frances moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) was near 30°C and the upper level winds were weak.  A primary rainband wrapped almost entirely around the center of circulation and an eyelike feature seemed to be indicated on some satellite imagery.  Thunderstorms around the eye generated upper level divergence which pumped out mass and the circulation assumed a more symmetrical circulation.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms formed in the outer portions of the circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Frances may have reached its peak intensity.  Frances will continue to move over water where the SST is near 30°C.  However, it is about to move near the western end of an upper level ridge where there are stronger northerly winds.  Those stronger winds will create much more vertical wind shear and Tropical Cyclone Frances is likely to weaken during the next several days.

A subtropical ridge to the east of Frances is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-southwest and that general motion is forecast to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Frances poses no threat to Western Australia, although it could cause increased wave action along the coast.

Tropical Cyclone Frances Develops North of Western Australia

An area of low pressure northwest of Western Australia developed into Tropical Cyclone Frances on Thursday.  At 10:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Frances was located at latitude 11.0°S and longitude 128.3°E which put it about 255 miles (410 km) north-northeast of Kalumburu, Australia.  Frances was moving toward the west-southwest at 12 m.p.h. (19 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. (110 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

The organization of Tropical Cyclone Frances improved significantly during the past 24 hours.  A well organized center of circulation developed at the surface.  A primary rainband wrapped about two-thirds of the way around the southern and western sides of the center.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms formed in the outer portions of the circulation.  Thunderstorms near the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the south of the tropical cyclone.  Frances is a fairly small tropical cyclone and winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 100 miles (160 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Frances will move through an environment that will be favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Frances will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C while is moves across the Timor Sea.  An upper level ridge east of Tropical Cyclone Frances is producing northeasterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Vertical wind shear may be the reason that the primary rainband wrapped around the southern and western sides of the center.  However, the vertical shear does not appear to be strong enough to significantly affect the upper level divergence.  Frances is likely to intensify during the next day or so.  Eventually, Tropical Cyclone Frances will move into an area where there are strong upper level northwesterly winds.  A significant increase in vertical wind shear should weaken Frances when that occurs.

A subtropical ridge to the east of Frances is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-southwest.  A general motion toward the west-southwest is expected to continue during the next few days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Frances is forecast to stay north of the coast of Western Australia.  However, any southward deviation of the track could bring stronger winds closer to the coast.