Australia braces for return of Cyclone Nathan

Second hit for Cape Flattery as Cyclone Nathan spirals back to tropical Queensland as a much more violent storm.

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    Australia braces for return of Cyclone Nathan
    Severe Tropical Cyclone Nathan approaches Cape York Peninsular, QLD, Australia [AFP]

    The very destructive core of severe tropical Cyclone Nathan, with maximum wind gusts forecast to 260kph, is expected to make landfall early on Friday morning.

    The area under threat is between Cape Melville and Cooktown, on the York Peninsula, in northeast Australia. 

    The inhabitants of Cooktown and Hope Vale were bunkering down now amid warnings that the cyclone could pack winds twice as strong as that of last year's Cyclone Ita.

    The Australian Bureau of Meteorology classes Nathan as a category three cyclone at the moment but raises it to category four by Friday morning.

    That makes it a severe tropical cyclone by the time that the core reaches the coast.

    The tidal surge that accompanies tropical cyclones is usually the most damaging aspect, with coastal flooding often causing devastation.

    Given the strength of the wind from Pam as she traversed Vanuatu, this is clearly not always the case.

    A circle approximately 300km in diameter, including Port Douglas, Daintree and Cape Tribulation, is threatened by at least gale force winds and heavy rain.

    Trees in Daintree National Park, an area of tropical rainforest, are in the area at risk from wind damage.

    Nathan first visited this northeast Australian peninsular on March 11th, leaving over 50mm of rain but luckily without any strong wind.

    This cyclone has a spiral habit, and after being born to the east of Papua New Guinea, it followed a clockwise path that took it towards Queensland, and away again.

    This is its second attempt at Australia and it will likely make landfall this time. The forecast track is of high confidence and brings the weakened cyclone out of the other side of Cape York.

    From there it seems likely to strengthen again, over the Gulf of Carpentaria, as it heads for Arnhem Land. Only a month ago, this part of Arnhem Land was badly damaged by cyclone Lam.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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