Worst of Cyclone Nathan may not strike Qld coastline
THE most powerful 140kmh gale-force winds from Cyclone Nathan are not expected to strike the far north Queensland coastline, as the storm begins travelling east back out to sea.
The Category Two system is on the cusp of intensifying to a Category Three, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting it to be upgraded at 10pm on Friday.
A warning zone remains from the Lockhart River down to Cape Flattery, north of Cooktown.
The BOM's latest predictions will come as some relief to those living in these towns, with all modelling showing the cyclone will almost certainly head away from the mainland.
The worst of Nathan's winds -- estimated at 100kmh with gusts of up to 140kmh -- are blowing within 45km of the cyclone's centre, which is not enough to affect coastal towns.
There are still destructive winds" that are a small risk for those in the warning area.
The North Tropical Coast, Tablelands and Peninsula regions have already been copping heavy rain, but that is expected to ease later int he evening.
The BOM is also warning of abnormally high tides, and large waves that could contribute to minor flooding along the foreshore.
.People between Lockhart River and Cooktown should immediately commence or continue preparations, especially securing boats and property.
- For cyclone preparedness and safety advice, visit Queensland's Disaster Management Services website
- For emergency assistance call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500 (for assistance with storm damage, rising flood water, fallen trees on buildings or roof damage).
Friday morning: Cyclone Nathan whips up 140kmh winds off Qld coast
CYCLONE Nathan is expected to move away from the far north Queensland coastline on Friday after generating wind gusts of up to 140 kilometres an hour.
At 4am on Friday, the Bureau of Meteorology said Nathan sustained winds of 100 kilometres per hour near the centre.
It was estimated to be 90 kilometres northeast of Cape Melville and 220 kilometres north of Cooktown.
Cyclone Nathan was moving north northwest at 4 kilometres an hour, the bureau said.
"Cyclone Nathan remains slow moving off the northeast Queensland coast north of Cape Melville. It is expected to begin moving east away from the coast during today.
The bureau said gales are likely about coastal and island areas between Lockhart River and Cape Melville today and could develop south towards Cooktown during Friday afternoon depending on the track the cyclone takes.
Very destructive winds are expected to develop within 45 kilometres of the centre later today and could begin to affect coastal and island areas between Cape Flattery and Cape Melville if the cyclone takes a track closer to the coast.
Destructive winds extend out to around 70 kilometres from the centre and could develop about the coast and islands between Cape Flattery and Cape Melville, including Lizard Island, if the cyclone takes a more southerly track today.
"Areas of heavy rain will continue about parts of the Peninsula and North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts this morning before gradually easing towards the end of today as the cyclone moves away from the coast.
"A Flood Watch is current for North Tropical Coast catchments north of Innisfail and some Flood Warnings are also current.
Abnormally high tides could develop about coastal and island areas between Coen and Cape Flattery today with large waves possibly leading to minor flooding along the foreshore if the cyclone takes a more westward track closer to the coast.
People living in areas that could be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to help their neighbours in case this scenario occurs.
Cyclone Nathan forecast to slow on Thursday evening
Cyclone Nathan is continuing to edge closer to the Queensland coast but is forecast to begin slowing this evening.
The Bureau's latest report shows Nathan as a Category two, with sustained winds near the centre of 95 kilometres per hour gusts up to 130 kilometres per hour.
At 2pm, Cyclone Nathan was estimated to be 100 kilometres north north west of Lizard Island and 185 kilometres north of Cooktown, moving at six kilometres per hour in a westerly direction.
Cyclone Nathan is continuing to move slowly west towards the coast north of Cape Flattery.'
It is expected to slow this movement during today and ultimately change direction to the east-northeast away from the coast over the next 24 hours.
11AM Thursday TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan is currently Category 2 strength and is forecast to continue tracking towards the coast before changing direction and moving away from the coast during Thursday.
Further intensification of the system to Category 3 strength is expected during Friday morning, as it moves in an easterly direction away from the coast.
Even if the very destructive core of the cyclone does not cross the coast, damaging gale force winds are forecast to impact coastal communities between Coen and Port Douglas, during today (Thursday). These winds may extend as far north as Lockhart River during Friday.
Heavy rain which may lead to flash flooding is possible for parts of the North Tropical Coast, Tablelands and Peninsula districts
8AM Thursday TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan is now close to the coast north of Cape Flattery, or 180km north northeast of Cooktown, and still listed as a Category Two system.
The Bureau of Meteorology's warning covers from Lockhart River to Coen.
"Cyclone Nathan is continuing to move slowly southwest towards the coast near Cape Flattery," the Bureau said in a statement.
"It is expected to slow this movement during today and ultimately change direction to the east-northeast away from the coast over the next 24 hours."
The Bureau will issue its next update at 11am.
5AM THURSDAY TROPICAL Cyclone Nathan is now just 100km off Lizard Island off the Cape York Peninsula with meteorologists predicting the storm will build into a Category Three system by mid-afternoon today.
Already a Category Two, weather watchers and communities in the warning zone are hoping the potentially destructive cyclone will follow the predictions and begin its about-face at the same time.
The Bureau of Meteorology's predicted path for Nathan does not have the cyclone making landfall, but still warns there is a slim chance it could overshoot its track and touchdown at Cape Flattery.
For this reason, far north communities are being urged to keep up preparations.
The worst of Cyclone Nathan's destructive winds will hit Cape Flattery, Cape Melville and Lizard Island, all north of Cooktown.
According to the Bureau:
"Very destructive winds are expected to develop within 45 kilometres of the centre early this afternoon and could begin to affect coastal and island areas between Cape Flattery and Cape Melville from this afternoon."
As a Category Three, the winds near the centre of Nathan has sustained winds of 95kmh and wind gusts of 130kmh.
Nathan is moving east towards the coast at 5kmh.
The system will be nearest to the Coast this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Olwyn has strengthened into a Category Two system off the West Australian coast.
It is expected to build into a Category Three before it begins to lose strength as it heads south.
Gale force winds extend out to approximately 180 kilometres from the centre and could develop about coastal and island areas between Coen and Port Douglas today.
- Gales could extend north to Lockhart River on Friday morning, depending on the track the cyclone takes.
- Very destructive winds are expected to develop within 45 kilometres of the centre early this afternoon and could begin to affect coastal and island areas between Cape Flattery and Cape Melville from this afternoon.
- Destructive winds extend out to 70 kilometres from the centre and could develop about the coast and islands between Cooktown and Cape Melville, including Lizard Island, from this morning.
Areas of heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, are expected across parts of the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Peninsula districts throughout today.
- A separate Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds is current for parts of these districts.
Abnormally high tides could develop about coastal areas between Coen and Cape Tribulation during today with large waves possibly leading to minor flooding along the foreshore if the cyclone takes a more westward track closer to the coast.
- People living in areas that could be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to help their neighbours in case this scenario occurs.
People between Coen and Port Douglas should immediately commence or continue preparations, especially securing boats and property.
- People between Lockhart River and Coen, and also between Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas should consider what action they will need to take if the cyclone threat increases.
For more information on preparations, visit:
Your local council website
- Queensland Disaster Management Service
- In case of emergency, contact Queensland Fire and Rescue Service on 132 500
UPDATE 5PM WEDNESDAY
Port Douglas has now been included in the warning area which extends north to Coen.
The Bureau of Meteorology's latest update has Cyclone Nathan remaining as a Category Two with sustained winds near the centre of 95 kilometres per hour, gusting up to 130 kilometres per hour.
Nathan is moving west south west at 14 kilometres per hour and at 4:00pm was estimated to be 115 kilometres north north east of Lizard Island and 205 kilometres north north east of Cooktown.
The Watch area extends from Lockhart River to Coen.
11:30 AM Cyclone Nathan now a Category Two, expected to u-turn
FAR north Queensland is being drenched by the rains of Cyclone Nathan as it edges its way closer to the coastline.
Current modelling predicts Cyclone Nathan will not make landfall, but will turn around before reaching the coastline.
At 10am, Nathan was deemed a Category Two cyclone, after first earning cyclone status at 10pm Tuesday.
By mid-morning Thursday, Nathan is expected to strengthen into a Category Three.
More than 200mm of rain has already fallen in the past 12 hours around the Innisfail region, which would have caused flash flooding if it landed in a more heavily populated area like Cairns.
A warning for parts of the Cape York Peninsula remains, reached from Coen to Cape Tribulation, with a cyclone watch zone in place from the Lockhart River in the north to Port Douglas in the south.
As it reaches Category Three intensity, Nathan is predicted to make a hard right turn, and begin heading east back out to sea.
Cape Flattery and Lizard Island are expected to cop the worst of its destructive winds, although Nathan is not expected to make landfall.
A powerful upper level trough is pushing Nathan back out to sea, which is expected to protect the far north from the most dangerous part of the storm.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that all cyclones are fickle and their paths are subject to change.
Its latest tracking map (below) shows a "grey cone of uncertainty" which highlights where the cyclone could go, even if the chances are very low.
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The BOM predicts that if it does not follow its most likely course -- involving a u-turn -- there is still a low chance it could make landfall somewhere between Coen and Cape Tribulation.
"The cyclone can be located anywhere within that grey area, which includes parts of the coastline in that warning timeline," said BOM's Jess Carey.
"We're warning out to 48 hours.
"We can't rule out that it's going to hit the coast.
"It could potentially be potentially anywhere in that grey area.
"But the forecast track is the best guidance."
Mr Carey referred to the BOM's predictions about Cyclone Marcia, which was not expected to strengthen beyond a Category Two but later intensified to a Category Five before striking Central Queensland in mid-February.
"We wouldn't be expecting anything like that again," he said.
"It should be used as a warning curve -- this sort of development can occur."
For this reason, the BOM is warning those in these areas to be vigilant and to take the cyclone seriously.
If the cyclone does follow its expected path, Mr Carey said there may be no impact to the Queensland coast at all.
Cyclone Nathan forms, predicted to become Category 3
BY THIS time tomorrow morning, the newly-formed Tropical Cyclone Nathan off the far north Queensland coast will have muscled up into a Category Three system, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
It was officially deemed a cyclone overnight.
Right now TC Nathan is moving slowly towards the Cape York Peninsula, but forecasters expect that by Thursday afternoon, the storm will begin a u-turn that will ultimately take it back out to sea.
Although it is not expected to make landfall, Nathan is expected to come close enough to the mainland that destructive winds and heavy rains are likely.
Meanwhile a second Tropical Low off the West Australian coastline is expected to become a cyclone by tomorrow afternoon.
Queenslanders in the far north from Cape Tribulation to Coen, which includes Cooktown, Lizard Island and Cape Flattery, can expect gale-force winds within 24 hours.
Coastal areas from Port Douglas, north of Cairns, to the Lockhart River are being instructed to ready themselves for the potentially destructive expected within 48 hours.
Heavy rain and flash flooding is possible for parts of the North Tropical Coast, Tablelands and Peninsula districts from today and into Thursday.
This includes Cairns, Atherton, Cooktown, Innisfail and Mareeba.
The Category One system is now 305km northeast of Cooktown, moving west southwest at 13kmh.
The winds near its centre are rushing at 85kmh, with wind gusts of up to 120kmh.
The tiny tropical low first appeared on the Bureau's radars on Monday morning.
The BOM expects the cyclone will head away from the Coast from late tomorrow.
4:00 PM: Cyclone Nathan forecast to become Category Two system
THE tropical low in the north west Coral Sea is expected to continue moving in a general westwards direction while intensifying over the next couple of days.
The latest update from the Bureau of Meteorology at 4:30 pm showed the low is could reach tropical cyclone strength during Wednesday.
Intensity: Tropical Low, sustained winds near the centre of 55 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 85 kilometres per hour.
Location: estimated to be 485 kilometres east north east of Cooktown and 500 kilometres east north east of Cape Melville.
Movement: west southwest at 11 kilometres per hour.
A TROPICAL Low off north-eastern Australia is expected to evolve into Tropical Cyclone Nathan by 10am on Wednesday as it heads east towards the Queensland coastline.
The Bureau of Meteorology has now released a warning for the Low and a "cyclone forecast track map".
On current predictions, after becoming a Category One cyclone tomorrow morning, Nathan will strengthen into a Category Two by mid-morning Thursday.
Forecasters believe the system could do an about face and begin heading back out to sea late on Thursday night.
Earlier, a BOM spokesman said the cyclone was expected to have almost no impact on heavily-populated areas south of the Whitsundays.
North Queensland towns of Townsville and Cairns are likely to receive heavy winds and rain as it approaches the coast in coming days.
Parts of Cape York including Cooktown and Cape Tribulation and Cape Melville can expect gale-force winds within 48 hours.
As of 10am today, the Low had winds of 55kmh near its centre with wind gusts of up to 85kmh.
It was sitting 570km north east of Cooktown and 580km east northeast of Cape Melville.
According to the latest BOM warning:
"The tropical low in the northwest Coral Sea is expected to continue moving in a general westwards direction while intensifying over the next couple of days.
"Gales are expected to extend out to approximately 170 kilometres from the centre and could develop about coastal areas between Coen and Cape Tribulation during Thursday.
"Areas of heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, could develop across parts of the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Peninsula districts during Wednesday and should persist into Thursday."
Cyclone Nathan could hit Qld coastline on Thursday
ASPIRING Cyclone Nathan has only grown stronger in the past 24 hours, with its strength building significantly in the past six hours.
From its latest spot about 580km east of Cook Town, the possible cyclone has a 50% chance of making landfall - or very close to it - on Thursday.
That would mean the state's coastline has been hit by cyclones twice in less than three weeks, after Cylone Marcia buffeted Central Queensland from February 20.
Nathan is predicted to strike on or near Cook Town, but will bring heavy rains and winds as far south as Townsville,.
Destructive winds are forecast for the Cape York Peninsula.
Anywhere south of the Whitsundays in Central Queensland will be mostly spared, aside from the odd thunderstorm or cloudy day.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the system will head south-west from its current location, reach the far north coastline, then bounce south-east out to sea.
The BOM then expects "babysit" the system as it tires itself out beyond the horizons of the eastern seaboard.
There is not yet any indication that after this first strike, the storm would return to deliver any further grief to Queenslanders.
But BOM's Jess Carey said the bureau's forecasts were based on looking "four to five days away", and beyond that, anything could happen.
"Anything more than four or five days away, it's very difficult to say," he said.
"You don't want to lock anything in, (cylones) are notoriously hard to predict."
At this rate, the Bureau of Meterology expects to start a "watch" for the system by early afternoon.
From there the BOM will watch as the Low progresses towards becoming an actual Tropical Cyclone.
Its future is also being controlled in part by the growing Tropical Cyclone Pam, a rapidly expanding storm threatening Fiji and Vanuatu.
From there, the cyclone - or ex-cyclone - is then expected to forge a path towards New Zealand.
Queensland may face Cyclone Nathan, as low looms large
A CYCLONE named Nathan could strike Queensland's coastline before the end of the week, after a Tropical Low formed south of Papua New Guinea this morning.
It is one of two major soon-to-be cylones building in the area, with the smaller of the two expected to develop into a cyclone and head towards Cape York Peninsula.
The larger is expected to evolve into a powerful Category Three system, delivering powerful winds and rain to the pacific nations of Fiji and Vanuatu.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Jess Carey said our cyclone - likely to be named Nathan when it forms on Wednesday - will cross the Queensland coast "later this week".
If a system off the West Australian coast develops first, the northern cyclone would be dubbed Olwyn.
It comes just weeks after Cyclone Marcia barrelled into the Central Queensland coastal towns, after shocking weather watchers by strengthening from a Category One to a Category Four system in just 10 hours.
Marcia destroyed properties in Yeppoon and Rockhampton after it made landfall on February 20.
Nathan's chances of expanding into a cyclone lie between 20% and 50% at the moment, but the Bureau believes its chances will be stronger from Tuesday.
The timing and intensity of the looming cyclone is still unknown, because the Tropical Low is so young.
BOM boffins do not believe Nathan would head south towards Queensland's more heavily-populated regions.
"At this stage, the most favoured track is that westerly route across the (Cape York) peninsula and into the Gulf of Carpentaria," Mr Carey said.
He emphasised that cyclone movements were always difficult to predict.