Two tropical cyclones threaten Australian coastlines

TC Nathan in the east and TC Olwyn in the west will bring stormy weather to the country in the coming days.

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    Nathan is in the northern Coral Sea, moving at a very slow walking pace towards the Cape York Peninsula [Getty Images}
    Nathan is in the northern Coral Sea, moving at a very slow walking pace towards the Cape York Peninsula [Getty Images}

    Australia is facing severe weather as tropical storms threaten both the west and east coasts.

    In the west, Tropical Cyclone Olwyn, which formed over the warm waters of the southeastern Indian Ocean, is heading towards the north coast of Western Australia. Olwyn is expected to make landfall near Exmouth around 0000GMT on Friday.

    Olwyn is expected to track southwards as a weakening system and it may bring some heavy showers to Perth over the weekend.

    The worst of Olwyn’s weather will be between Exmouth and Shark Bay, with damaging gusts of wind as high as 165kph, according to the country’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

    A yellow alert, the second highest, has been issued for coastal communities from Mardie to Coral Bay. Residents are advised to take action and get ready to shelter.

    A dangerous storm tide is expected along the coast, with the risk of damaging waves and coastal flooding.

    Unlike Olwyn, the tropical cyclone threatening northern Queensland on Australia's east coast, is not expected to make landfall. Nathan is in the northern Coral Sea, moving at 2kph (a very slow walking pace) towards the Cape York Peninsula.

    Nathan is expected to turn back towards the east some time on Friday, but huge rainfall accumulations are likely before it clears away.

    Until then, between 300 and 500mm could fall in coastal areas, with a few spots seeing as much as 600mm. The BoM expect the highest accumulations to be north of Cape Tribulation.

    The presence of Nathan has already caused disruption to shipping in the region. A cruise ship, the MSC Orchestra, with 2,500 passengers on board, has cancelled a scheduled stopover at Yorkey’s Knob, north of Cairns.

    There are also concerns that Nathan may have an adverse effect on Queensland’s banana production. The potentially devastating panama disease has been detected on a farm in the region. There are fears that floodwater may wash contaminated soil into other plantations.

    Australia’s cyclone season officially runs from November 1 to April 30.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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