Tropical Cyclone Olga (09P) Makes Landfall Near Cape Tribulation, Australia16S 145.4E
Tropical Cyclone Olga (09P), located approximately 40 nm north of Cairns, Australia, has tracked west-southwestward at 4 knots over the past six hours. The cyclone made landfall near Cape Tribulation in the far north of Queensland and weakened after crossing the coast. Olga was downgraded to a Category 1 storm from Category 2. Maximum significant wave height is 10 feet.
Animated infrared imagery shows a significant decrease in convection over the past twelve hours and surface observations throughout the area have consistently been less than gale-force strength. Therefore, the current intensity of 35 knots is supported by the PGTW Dvorak estimate and justified despite the appearance of an eye-like feature in an AMSR-E microwave image.
As for position, the Cairns radar shows a broadening low level circulation center (LLCC) and the current system position is highly uncertain due to the lack of convection in the radar signature and clouds obscuring the LLCC in the infrared imagery.
Additionally, recent observations suggest that TC 09P may even be drifting slowly southeastward as it is currently located in an opposing steering environment. Since the system has weakened, the steering level has shifted to the lower levels with the cross-equatorial westerly flow to the north becoming more of a steering influence than the mid-level subtropical ridge to the south.
Over the next 12 hours, TC Olga is expected to resume a slow, westward track and dissipate as a significant tropical cyclone over the next 24 hours. Numerical model guidance is in good agreement with a westward track.
However, it appears that the models are over-initializing the intensity of the system and are subsequently moving Olga faster than the current forecast via the subtropical ridge. Finally, the possibility remains that TC 09P may re-intensify to minimal gale strength in the Gulf of Carpententaria around TAU 48.