BOM watch two cyclones, two lows surrounding Australia
WEATHER experts at the Bureau of Meteorology are keeping a close eye on a series of tropical cyclone and lows surrounding Australia.
But BoM meteorologists are confident Queensland will only feel the fringe effects of two of the four systems, Tropical Cyclone Cook and a tropical low forming above New Guinea.
The low that was hanging off the coast of Fiji last week has morphed into Tropical Cyclone Cook with a south-southwest steering wind and a low above New Guinea could make its way into the Coral Sea.
BoM meteorologist Adam Blazak said "cyclone season" had come late this year, but areas to the nation's north have become the perfect breeding ground for the systems, with hot air and plenty of moisture built up in the atmosphere.
The Bureau's priorities
PRIORITY 1. Tropical low above New Guinea
THE BUREAU are watching the movements of a tropical low closely, with the possibility it will move into the Coral Sea.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre currently has the system at a low chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next 24 hours, but are yet to release future forecasts.
Mr Blazak said The Bureau's models suggest it could move into the Coral Sea by the end of the week, but those models are showing conflicting trends.
"Every time they do new models they are telling us a different story, so it's hard to tell at this stage," he said.
"We are watching the Coral Sea. There might be a trough … or a trough system may form in the Coral Sea later in the week."
PRIORITY 2. Tropical Cyclone Cook
TROPICAL Cyclone Cook morphed into a cyclone days ago off the coast of Fiji with an east-southeast steering wind.
But it has since swung to a south-southwest direction towards Queensland, placing it on the path of Noumea and other small south pacific island nations.
BoM meteorologist James Thompson told The Morning Bulletin last week before Cyclone Cook was upgraded that it was tracking the low's movement's closely.
"It's the steering winds that are important here, and the steering winds are pushing it to the south-east," he said.
"It's most likely to move south and then east."
But meteorologist Adam Blazak said today The Bureau still isn't worried, as modelling suggests a "huge trough" moving over the state's south-east will collect the system off the coast of Queensland, sending it away.
Mr Blazak said meteorologist are briefing each other at shift handover on the likely impact of the cyclone on the state, which they believe will be limited to big swell in the state's south-east.
"The only influence would be on the swell in the south-east coast," he said.
PRIORITY 3. Tropical cyclone formation above Darwin
WEATHER experts with Queensland's Bureau are sharing information with the Northern Territory arm of BoM about a low that is expected to rapidly develop into a cyclone.
Darwin is in the "watch zone" for what is expected to be named Category 1 Topical Cyclone Frances by 10am tomorrow morning.
Soon-to-be Cyclone Frances is expected to make landfall at about 10pm tomorrow night at Milikapiti, a town on an island just off the coast of Darwin.
It is expected to steer south-west, clipping the North Territory's coast, before making landfall a second time on a small group of islands off the coast of Western Australia's Kalumburu.
Mr Blazak said Queensland is not likely to feel any impacts of what will become Cyclone Frances.
"It's moving away from our area, towards Western Australia," he said.
A ONE-TIME Category 5 Cyclone steaming through the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia has become a low priority for the Bureau as it continues to weaken.
Tropical Cyclone Ernie has been downgraded to a Category 1 cyclone, with the Bureau's latest warning showing Christmas Island, the WA mainland, and Keeling Island are out of the firing line for the cyclone.
Cyclone Ernie is travelling at 22km/h in a south-southwest direction, but BoM is warning seafarers that gale force winds are expected to the southern side of the system into Tuesday.
But Mr Blazak said despite releasing its forecasts, there is a degree of uncertainty in The Bureau's modelling.
"There's something there that's very hard for computer modelling to simulate (with cyclone forecasts)," he said. "There's a gap in the knowledge."
"There's a certain element of uncertainty as to how cyclone's exactly form because even when they do have all the elements, they don't form. And sometimes they don't have the elements, and they do form.
"There's a missing key there which science just hasn't found yet."