The Tiwi Islands have been placed under a Cyclone Warning as a strong Tropical Low looks to intensify into a Category 1 system tomorrow (Tuesday) prior to landfall. North-Western Northern Territory regions have also been placed under a Cyclone Watch with gales and heavy rain likely to lash Darwin and areas South of Darwin. Above image via Weatherzone
As of 6pm, Invest 96P was located approximately 340km North-North-East of Darwin, in the Central Arafura Sea. The system remains very unorganised and messy on satellite imagery and animation, however a weak rotation can still be detected amongst the widespread messy convection. Signs this afternoon (Monday afternoon), though the form of lightning and bursts of convection, indicate the system is about to go through an intensification period which has a high chance of resulting in Invest 96P becoming Tropical Cyclone Frances.
BOM Forecast Track for Tropical Low / Cyclone Frances issued 5:15pm ACST Monday, April 10th
The system is currently tracking South-South-West but is expected to interact with a ridging pattern over Central Australia resulting in a slightly more South-West which has the potential to place it directly over the Tiwi Islands as a Category 1 system. If this was the case, damaging wind gusts are likely across the islands with a weak storm surge resulting in shallow inundation along the direct Northern Coastline of the Islands. Heavy rain and squally winds are expected to lash Darwin and surrounds where a Severe Weather Warning is current. Flash Flooding is likely for some regions with falls of 100-200mm likely, and isolated falls to 300mm possible over the net 2-3 days.
During Wednesday and beyond, there is some discrepancy with forecast and heavyweight forecast models, where its about 50% either way – half of them (and half of the heavyweights) are pushing the system West and into open waters where it could intensify into a Category 4 or 5 system but impact nobody (like Severe Tropical Cyclone Ernie), the other half have the system glancing the Kimberley Coast and tracking somewhat down the Coast towards the Pilbara. This will remain up in the air until Frances enters the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and its interaction with a high pressure ridge becomes evident.