Australia: Possible Tropical Cyclone threat for Darwin


Australia's late-season cyclone surge continues this week and Darwin may be impacted in the coming days.

As Cyclone Ernie wanders off into the Indian Ocean without having impacted Australia's mainland, another system is brewing to the north of the country.

A Tropical Low was located about 200 kilometres north of the Top End over the Arafura Sea on Monday afternoon. This low is currently in an environment that has prevented it from strengthening into a cyclone, although this will change as it moves towards the Tiwi Islands on Wednesday.

The system is expected to become Australia's next tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours as it moves towards the Tiwi Islands. If it does form, it will be Australia's seventh tropical cyclone of the 2016/17 season and will be named Frances.

The expected southwesterly movement of this system in coming days should take it across the Tiwi Islands on Tuesday, to the west of Darwin and over the Timor Sea on Wednesday and towards Western Australia's Kimberley later in the week. Given the system's early stage of development, this forecast path is prone to change and may swing closer to or further away from Darwin.

At this stage, gales are likely to develop over the Tiwi Islands on Tuesday and may affect the western Top End, including Darwin, from Wednesday. 

Heavy rain is expected in these areas as well, which increases the risk of flash flooding.

Based on the forecast track of this developing system, onshore winds near and to the east of its core may cause a storm tide between Cape Fourcroy and Cooler Island.

The latest cyclone advisories for this system are available here: http://www.weatherzone.com.au/charts/tropicalcyclone.jsp

- Ben Domensino, Weatherzone