Cyclone Jasper forms of north-east of Cairns as hurricane force winds and heavy rain forecast | Queensland #Cyclone #Jasper #forms #northeast #Cairns #hurricane #force #winds #heavy #rain #forecast #Queensland

Australia’s first tropical cyclone of the season has officially formed and is expected to become severe from Thursday, potentially reaching the Queensland coast by next week.

Cyclone Jasper is currently a category one tempest, expected to become severe from Thursday as it tracks through the Coral Sea.

It could reach category three or four on Thursday – with one being the weakest and five the strongest.

It is now sitting 1,470km north-east of Cairns, meteorologist Steve Hadley said, quite far off Australia’s coast. It could bring hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall to the high seas from Thursday, creating rough seas and swells.

Tropical Cyclone Jasper has now been named, located over the Solomon Sea as a Category 1 system. From early next week TC Jasper may move near the #Qld coast, however there is large uncertainty as to which parts of the Qld coast will be impacted. See:

— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) December 5, 2023

While Jasper is currently closer to the Solomon Islands region, it could approach the Queensland coast by early next week.

“We really have a lot of uncertainty as to which parts of Queensland it will move closest to,” Hadley said.

Although the Bureau of Meteorology cannot yet confirm which parts of Queensland might become affected, it is currently working around three possibly scenarios.

The first is that Jasper approaches the Queensland coast early next week, making landfall between Cooktown and Mackay.

The cyclone could potentially make landfall further south, along the Queensland south coast.

A third scenario is that the cyclone stays out at the Coral Sea for “at least” the next 10 days, with the BoM unsure what would happen to it after that period.

“At this stage, it’s best to just really keep an eye out for the information if you’re living in a cyclone-prone area,” Hadley said, encouraging people to make a plan.

While the tropical cyclone remains out at sea, the BoM will be providing updates every six hours. As soon as gales are expected on the coast within a 48-hour period, a watch will be issued for that specific region.

When gales are expected to hit within 24 hours, a warning will be issued for specific areas of impact.

Meanwhile, the conditions created by a tropical cyclone could potentially bring some good for the reef. Hadley explained that the intense cloud cover and strong currents created by a cyclone brings cooler waters to the surface, preventing marine heatwaves in the short term and lessening the chance of coral bleaching.

“It’s a long summer with a lot of potentially hot weather to come and cloudless days, which is the main thing which affects the sea surface temperatures in the tropics,” he said.

“[In] other parts of the reef where they get strong currents, that can actually impact the reef in a negative way as well.”

#Cyclone #Jasper #forms #northeast #Cairns #hurricane #force #winds #heavy #rain #forecast #Queensland

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