Tropical cyclone Uesi on collision course with Australia

 

Just when the sun started shining, the weather is set to turn hectic once again as a tropical cyclone begins to close in on Australia's east coast.

Huge swells, beach erosion, gale force winds and fresh dumpings of rain are all on the cards with the track of Cyclone Uesi firming up as a direct hit with waters off New South Wales.

Before it even arrives, thunderstorms are likely to bring more rain to the already sodden state.

The potential rainfall for Sydney has been more than doubled for the next few days. Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart could also see downpours. This will only exacerbate flooding which has now begun following last weekend's deluge.

"Uesi could bring some really wild weather," a forecaster has warned.

According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, Cyclone Uesi is currently a category 2 storm sitting to the west of New Caledonia in the Coral Sea.

Cyclone Uesi is currently west of New Caledonia and heading towards Australia. Picture: Fiji Meteorological Service
Cyclone Uesi is currently west of New Caledonia and heading towards Australia. Picture: Fiji Meteorological Service

Most meteorological models have the system moving in a south-westerly track heading towards the NSW coast but also brushing southeast Queensland during the latter part of the week.

Cyclones directly affecting NSW are not unheard of but are far rarer than in Queensland where the tropical waters are perfect for adding some juice to the oceanic systems.

However, unusually warm waters south of Queensland - and a large high-pressure system in the Tasman - are helping to direct Uesi towards the states' shores.

"One models keeps Uesi around New Caledonia, but most models have it tracking down and closer to Australia moving from the Queensland border into NSW," said Sky News Weather channelmeteorologist Rob Sharpe this morning.

METAMORPHOSIS

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said there is a moderate risk that when the storm enters Australian waters on Friday, it could still be a tropical cyclone.

But it is also possible it will undergo a metamorphosis on its journey to Australia - from a tropical to an extra-tropical cyclone, also known as a mid-latitude cyclone.

"That means the strongest winds, instead of being right near the centre of the system will progress a little bit further outwards," Mr Sharpe said.

It will probably weaken from its current strength, and is unlikely to make landfall, but could still pack a substantial punch.

 

 

"The most likely scenario is for it to graze the coastline of NSW. Depending on exactly how close it comes, Uesi could bring some really wild weather," he said.

Even if Uesi stays a reasonable distance offshore, it could still bring a brief burst of strong winds and heavy rain but the greatest threat would then be from the swell, Mr Sharpe said.

In previous instances of cyclones heading towards NSW, waves almost 10m high have been recorded with extensive beach erosion.

"In fact wild weather continues to be the focus through the next week with more big weather systems on the cards," he said.

The waves produced by Cyclone Uesi are likely to be huge, up to 5m high. This is the projected wave height on Friday night. Picture: Windy
The waves produced by Cyclone Uesi are likely to be huge, up to 5m high. This is the projected wave height on Friday night. Picture: Windy

Much of the rain during the next few days is less to do with Uesi and more to do with a band of storms. They could see spells of heavy rain dumping a lot of moisture in a limited time.

Overnight the BOM upped the likely rain totals for Sydney. Yesterday's forecast had up to 20mm falling today - but the most recent forecast has that up as high as 50mm, with the same tomorrow and more showers on the weekend.

Byron Bay could be smashed over the next few days with almost 150mm falling in the run-up to the weekend. South of Sydney, around 100mm could descend on Nowra with Thursday looking the wettest.

But if the cyclone does crank up, expect the rain forecast to be increased further for Friday and the weekend.

Flood warnings are in place for the Clarence, Hawkesbury, Moruya, Deua, Orara, Castlereagh, Paroo, Belubula, Weir and Snowy rivers.

The eye of Cyclone Uesi close to New Caledonia. Picture: NOAA USA
The eye of Cyclone Uesi close to New Caledonia. Picture: NOAA USA

WEATHER ACROSS AUSTRALIA

Energy infrastructure operator Ausgrid has said it has restored power to 102,000 homes following the record-breaking rain on the weekend, but around 40,000 properties remain to be reconnected by it and Endeavour Energy.

Wet in Brisbane with 85mm of rain over the next few days and highs of around 30C. A possible shower in Canberra today with heavier rain on Thursday and continuing into the weekend. The temperature should top out in the high twenties.

Some drizzle but mainly dry for the next couple of days in Melbourne topping out at 30C. Friday could be hot, humid and stormy with heavy rain.

Across Bass Strait, Hobart will be cloudy with highs in the low twenties and possible heavy downpours on Friday and Saturday.

Mostly warm in Adelaide with temperatures pushing above 31C on Thursday. Hot and clear in Perth with a top temperature of 32C today and 36C on Friday but cooling over the weekend. Afternoon storms and 32C in Darwin.

 

benedict.brook@news.com.au

Cyclone Uesi projected location on Friday. Picture: Sky News weather
Cyclone Uesi projected location on Friday. Picture: Sky News weather

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