March 16, 2010

Tropical cyclone path remains 'Ului'-sive, but wild weather to return

The expected path of Tropical Cyclone Ului remains elusive with differing models and forecasts on whether the Category 5 storm will reach the Queensland Coast.

The official forecast track map (first image, left) and bulletin's from the Bureau earlier in the week indicated the cyclone would likely not reach the Queensland coast and remain out to sea.

However, forecast models (second image, left) by the United States Navy Joint Tsunami Warning Center has 'Ului' heading westwards towards the coast on Friday, however it would weaken before making landfall between Rockhampton and Mackay on Sunday morning. By the time it reaches the coast, winds are likely to have dropped to about 60 knots (111 km/h)

A Courier Mail news story today highlights the US Navy model, whereby forecaster Geoff Doueal said it was common for models to disagree. "There's not much (weather conditions) steering this at the moment, so it's a wait and see," he said (Source: Courier Mail)

Regardless of the models, the effect of the cyclone is expected to be felt during the next week, with wild weather conditions expected to lash the coasts. As a precaution, the State Government has ordered shark nets and hook lines to be removed from Gold Coast beaches.

As a result, beach goers are warned to only swim at patrolled beaches, not only because the shark nets are no longer in place, but that dangerous surf conditions with seas of up to 7 metres are expected on Friday (Source: ABC News)

At time of posting there are no direct weather warnings for the Gold Coast region, however there is currently a Coastal Wind Warning that extends down to Double Island Point, which will likely be expanded to include Point Danger as the week progresses.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment of what you think will happen.