Posted 21/3/18. The first severe cyclone this season is confidently forecast by global models to not only develop in the Northern region but also cross the Queensland Coast this weekend. Above image via Windy.com.

On Wednesday night a Tropical Low is currently located in the Arafura Sea between the Northern Territory and Papua New Guinea. The system is intensifying and has a high chance of becoming a Tropical Cyclone on Friday. Initially it is expected to drift west on Thursday as a Tropical Low before halting then tracking East to South East on Friday.

At this stage TC Nora is likely to intensify into a severe category 3 system on Saturday with wind gusts over 165km hr in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The intensifying nature of the cyclone will be due to very favourable conditions with low vertical wind shear and warm 30C sea surface temperatures. Peak significant wave heights of 8 meters are also forecast near the system in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Due to the narrow area between the NT and QLD coasts it is difficult to say exactly where the cyclone will cross at this stage however a majority of models are suggesting the Southern Gulf region on Sunday.  Very destructive winds, heavy rainfall, flooding and dangerous storm surge is likely to accompany the severe system as it crosses the coast. Most of the Gulf coast is also likely to experience abnormally high tides especially on the Eastern and Southern sides of the cyclone. 

People living in the Northern Territory’s Arnhem and Roper-McArthur districts and nearby islands and in Queensland’s Gulf Country, Peninsula district and Mornington Island need to be aware of the significant potential for severe cyclonic impacts. Ensure you have your cyclone emergency kit and emergency plan ready, stay tuned for further updates and follow advice from local authority and disaster management personnel. Higgins Storm Chasing has already issued our in-house tropical low and tropical cyclone forecast intensity track maps a few days ago for the system. The maps will be updated more frequently as required. These maps are available on our website by logging in here! 

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