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BOM watch system closely, but no Cyclone worry yet

CYCLONE CHANCE: BoM weather experts believe there is a moderate chance of a 'tropical disturbance' developing into a cyclone.
CYCLONE CHANCE: BoM weather experts believe there is a moderate chance of a 'tropical disturbance' developing into a cyclone.

WEATHER experts at the Bureau of Meteorology are "keeping a close eye" on a tropical low near Samoa that has a moderate chance of developing into a cyclone by Thursday.

BoM meteorologist James Thompson said the tropical low had a "low chance" of morphing into a cyclone today or tomorrow.

But the likelihood would increase on Thursday when there is a 20-50% chance of the cyclone forming.  

The tropical low bears some resemblances to the early stages of what would become the Category 5 Cyclone Yasi, which developed nearby, just northwest of Fiji on January 29, 2011.

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Yasi, which made landfall on Queensland's Mission Beach on February 3 as one of the most powerful cyclones to hit the state, developed as a tropical low northwest of Fiji on January 29 near Samoa.

Yasi rapidly intensified to a category 1 cyclone by 10pm on January 30. She initially took a westward track, quickly intensifying into a Category 2 Cyclone.

Yasi was then upgraded to a category 4 cyclone on February 1 when it suddenly veered west southwest before rapidly accelerating towards Queensland's coast.

But Mr Thompson said the "tropical disturbance" was currently on an east southeast track.

"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."

He said The Bureau was also assisting other weather authorities track the system's movement.

The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said there is an "excellent outflow" north northeast of the system, along with an approaching trough from the west that is bringing 15-20 knot winds. 

Topics:  bom cyclone mackay weather wildweather


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