Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tropical Cyclone Debbie Less Than 24 Hours From Landfall in Queensland, Australia; Warnings Issued For the Coast

Jonathan Belles and Linda Lam
Published: March 26,2017

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is closing in on Australia's Queensland Province where it will come ashore in less than 24 hours with damaging winds, storm surge and flooding rainfall.
(MORE: Hurricane Central)

Current Storm Status
Debbie was a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale as of late Sunday (Eastern Daylight Time), and atmospheric and oceanic conditions should remain favorable for some additional strengthening before landfall occurs.
(MORE: Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones: Regional Names Explained)
Landfall along the coast is expected late Monday Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), or Tuesday morning Australian time (eastern Australia is 14 hours ahead of U.S. EDT) between Townsville and Proserpine.
Warnings have been issued by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology for portions of the Queensland coast from Lucinda to St. Lawrence. Evacuations have been ordered for some coastal towns and communities, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
(MORE: Evacuations Ordered, Schools Closed)
Radar imagery showed bands of rain showers pushing toward the coast as of Monday morning (Australia time).

Projected Path and Intensity
Strong winds will be on the increase near the coast on Monday, and preparations should be rushed to completion in the warning area. On Tuesday morning, peak impacts, including damaging winds and storm surge, will arrive near where the center of Debbie makes landfall.
Remember that contrary to in the Atlantic, winds will be strongest to the south and southwest of Debbie's core.
(FORECAST: Cairns | Townsville | Mackay)
Flash flooding and river flooding from heavy rainfall are also possible impacts near the coast and farther inland along Debbie's path.

Forecast Rainfall
Debbie will likely be the first tropical cyclone of hurricane strength to impact northeast Australia (Queensland) since Tropical Cyclone Marcia did so in February 2015. Marcia made landfall just north of Rockhampton, which is south of where Debbie is forecast to move inland.
This season has been very quiet and has set records for the lack of tropical cyclone activity. Tropical cyclone season in the Southern Hemisphere is Nov. 1 through April 30, although tropical cyclones can form in any month.
(MORE: Southern Hemisphere's Tropical Cyclone Streak Shattered)
In late January, a record was set for longest time without a hurricane-strength tropical system (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) in any of the three major Southern Hemisphere basins: 280 days.
Last season was quiet in the Australia region, as well, with only one hurricane-strength system developing.
MORE: Tropical Cyclone Winston Tears Through Fiji, 2016

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