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Tropical Cyclone 18P (Hamish) Batters Queensland Coast but Not Expected to Make Landfall

March 9th, 2009 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone 18P (Hamish) - March 9th, 2009 © CIMSS-Univ. of Wisconsin

Tropical Cyclone 18P (Hamish) - March 9th, 2009

TC 18P - March 8th, 2009 © JWTC

TC 18P - March 8th, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Hamish battered the coast of Australia’s northern state of Queensland, disrupting coal exports and prompting authorities to evacuate islands popular with tourists, Bloomberg reports.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the state’s central coast today, saying strong winds are creating dangerous surf and “abnormally high tides.”

At 4:46 p.m. local time, the cyclone was 245 kilometers (152 miles) northeast of Bundaberg, moving southeast parallel to the coast at 17 kilometers an hour, the weather bureau said.

The Department of Emergency Services informed that several islands, including Fraser, Lady Elliot and Heron Islands, were evacuated yesterday as a precaution.

The state government put emergency personnel, including search and rescue teams, on standby and sent 6,000 sandbags, flood barrier equipment and tarpaulins to towns along the central coast, Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said in a statement yesterday.

Forecast track - March 9th, 2009 ©  CIMSS-Univ. of Wisconsin

Forecast track - March 9th, 2009

Over the past 6 hours, Hamish has tracked southeastward at 8 knots. At the time of the latest JTWC update, it was located approximately 320 nautical miles north of Brisbane, Australia.

The track is forecast to turn eastward as Hamish moves around the mid-level subtropical ridge east of the cyclone.

TC 18P has begun to show signs of weakening over the past 12 hours. The Category 4 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour, is forecast to continue weakening and is not expected to make landfall.

Increased interaction with the mid-latitude flow will begin to weaken the system throughout the forecast period, but TC 18P will remain fairly intense through TAU 48.

Sea surface temperatures will decrease through the forecast, adversely affecting the low-level circulation center. Dvorak satellite estimates from PGTW and ABRF agree with a 102 knot system. Animated satellite imagery shows an enlarging eye with expanding upper level cloud cover. Maximum significant wave height at 21 feet.

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