Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cyclone risk in lead-up to Christmas

CONOR BYRNE   |  December 18th, 2011  NT News

A CYCLONE has been predicted to skirt the NT coast before Christmas.
And today Darwin weather bureau forecasters will discuss increasing the cyclone risk outlook.
Brisbane stormchaser Ben Quinn takes data from an American weather model and extrapolates it eight days ahead on his website to show this cyclone forming on December 23.
Both Mr Quinn and weather bureau senior forecaster Ashley Patterson said forecasting tropical weather - especially cyclones - so far in advance could be inaccurate and that other models were not yet predicting a cyclone.
But Mr Patterson said it was not to be ruled out, and predicts a low pressure system forming in a monsoon trough off the coast."There is an increased chance of a cyclone forming," he said.
"It's still uncertain so far out, but looking at the current block of models. It's possible."
The Darwin weather bureau looks at about four or five weather models when predicting cyclones.
"They all go for a monsoon trough to build over the next three to six days, and they indicate a weak low (pressure system) in the trough," he said.
"But that could be anywhere between Timor and the Gulf of Carpentaria.
"The models haven't come into agreement so there's a lot of uncertainty.
"I can't say for sure there's going to be a cyclone; there will be a developing low off the coast later in the week."
Mr Quinn's website predicts that the cyclone would smash the Kimberley coast at about 6.30am on Christmas Eve.
His data, from the US Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is updated every six hours based on current data.
"You can't accurately put a category on it. I'm not even going to have a guess," Mr Quinn said.

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