As expected, Iris is starting to struggle under the increased vertical wind shear and now a very unfavourable environment… but the threats aren’t over yet. Above image via NOAA
Tropical Cyclone Iris is remaining a marginal category 2 system as expected and tracking towards the South East. She is located roughly 280km North of Mackay or 190km North East of Bowen. Over the past 6-12 hours, the evidence has become very clear that Iris is starting to struggle under the increased vertical wind shear now active over the region. Despite the system being in a very favourable surface environment with 28-30ºc waters, the system is an even more so unfavourable atmospheric environment which is choking Iris from any sort of intensification potential. Given the vertical wind shear is expected to become even stronger over the next few days, this will also be the reason why in about 18 hours time, Iris will become an Ex-Tropical Cyclone.
Don’t let that stop you from thinking its all done and dusted though… Iris itself may be about to weaken quickly, but her impacts are still being felt along the Coast. A tropical cyclone warning remains in place from Yeppoon to Bowen for the potential for damaging winds over the next 24 hours. These winds are already being felt across the Whitsundays with Hamilton Island recording gusts of up to 106km/h. Creal Reef offshore has recorded 109km/h and Middle Percy Island 93km/h. 70-80km/h has been noted elsewhere over the Central Coast. There is a likely potential that conditions will continue to deteriorate over the rest of Wednesday as the system moves that little bit closer to the Whitsunday region. Rain areas are still impacting the Coast though with falls of 50-100mm being recorded around Mackay and the Bowen to Airlie Beach region since 9am yesterday. Conditions should start to improve (but staying a little miserable) during Thursday.