First Tropical Cyclone Of The Season Could Smash WA Next Week
The first tropical cyclone of the season could hit Australia next week.
There is a ‘moderate chance’ of a cyclone developing off the Pilbara Coast in Western Australia on Tuesday or Wednesday, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.
Network 10’s weather expert Josh Holt said a tropical low is expected to develop on the weekend in the monsoon trough which lies south of Indonesia.
"The chance of this system reaching tropical cyclone intensity increases from Sunday, becoming more likely by Tuesday," Holt said.
"It could be near the west Kimberley coast as early as Sunday, and Pilbara coast as early as Monday.”
If the system does reach tropical cyclone intensity it will be named “Blake".
“Even if it doesn't reach tropical cyclone intensity, heavy rainfall is still expected near the system. The northwest of WA could see rainfall totals of between 200-300 millimetres,” Holt said.
“Unfortunately, we have seen an extremely strong positive Indian Ocean dipole since May 2019."
The Indian Ocean dipole refers to an index that measures sea surface temperatures in the tropical Indian Ocean.
"When the index is positive, the pattern of sea surface temperatures across the Indian Ocean restricts the amount of moisture in the atmosphere over Australia. This typically causes below-average rain and above-average temperatures in large parts of the country."
“The good news is this climate driver that has underpinned one of Australia's warmest and driest years on record has now finally broken down.”
"While this doesn't mean the weather in Australia will change overnight, it does take this dominant climate driver out of the equation as we head into the new year, and the chance of rainfall will increase.
“I am hoping now with an increase in moisture coming in over WA that weather systems from the south can tap into this and push it further east towards fire-affected areas,” Holt said.
If it develops, it will be the first cyclone in Australian this season.