It looks like the Indian Ocean is about to fire up with some tropical activity as the potential for tropical cyclone development increases this weekend. Above image via WindyTV (Euro Model, Saturday morning Wind Gusts)
A monsoon trough has become active once again across the Northern Indian Ocean, North of the Northern Territory and across the Northern Coral Sea. This trough over the last 12-24hrs (late Wednesday into Thursday) has developed a tropical low which is currently situated about 1200km North-West of Port Hedland / 1400km West-North-West of Broome as of midday AWST on Thursday.
This low is showing all the signs of further development with strong convection and consistent convection being highly noticeable along with convective banding which is producing lightning, wrapping into the low level circulation centre.
Over the course Friday and especially into Saturday, the system is expected to track South to possibly South-East along/ahead of a high pressure Ridge which will steer the system into a favourable environment of low level wind shear and very warm sea surface temperatures. During this time the system has a good chance of becoming Cyclone Ernie with all modes on board for cyclonic strength. Damaging to possibly destructive winds and dangerous seas pose the biggest threat.
During Sunday onwards, the Ridge will move through and the system will likely be steered towards the South-West and into an unfavourable environment.
Note: this is unlikely to pose a threat to Mainland Australian or the Christmas/Cocos Island region! However conditions will be closely monitored