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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Paul loops and intensifies

Tropical cyclone Paul's storm track nearly traced a 'figure 8' along the NT coast today dumping heavy rain on the coastal regions along the Gulf of Carpentaria. The tight meandering of this cyclone is essentially the same as it being stationary with all rainfall falling on the same area.

Tropical Cyclone Paul soaks the Top End (North Queensland Register)

Tropical Cyclone Paul developed in to a category one system off the northeast coast of the Northern Territory this morning.

The cyclone has been skirting along the coast, bringing persistent and heavy rain to northeastern parts of the Top End as it slowly intensifies.

Nhulunbuy has been receiving persistent rain after a relatively dry start to the month. The city had received 57mm up until this past Wednesday when rain amount increased due to the developing Tropical system.

Nhulunbuy has seen 232mm of rain in the last five days, helping to bring them 20mm above the monthly average, with more to come.

Even with the interaction with land, Paul has intensified to a Category 2 cyclone and has drifted slightly further into the gulf.

Cyclone Paul intensifies off NT coast (ABC News)

The category two system has remained almost stationary north of Cape Shield off the Territory's east coast.

Forecaster Greg Browning predicted that more than 400 millimetres of rain will fall near the coast and Groote Eylandt in the next four days.

"To the south of the system, we have received reports of wind gusts up to about 70 or 80 kilometres per hour. And some pretty substantial rainfall," Mr Browning said.

"There would certainly be some communities that would be experiencing some heavy rain as well as some stronger winds."



Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

As the satellite image shows, this storm is rather large covering approximately half of the Gulf of Carpentaria. As a result northern Queensland is also being drenched by the outer rainbands. As the storm moves further to the south, far north Queensland will likely see increased rain chances later this week.

Cyclone Paul to blow in to Far North Queensland (Cairns.com.au)

UPDATE, March 29, 6.30am: The effects of category two cyclone Paul are expected to be felt in Far North Queensland as early as Wednesday.

--snip--

The cyclone is currently near-stationary on the coast near Cape Shield and is expected to move further inland later today.

Destructive winds with gusts to 130km/h may develop between Nhulunbuy and Numbulwar today and tomorrow.

Gales with gusts to 110km/h are currently being experienced between Nhulunbuy and Port Roper, including Groote Eylandt. Gales may extend north to Elcho Island and west to Milingimbi later today and further west to Maningrida tomorrow if the system takes a more northerly track.

A storm tide is expected between Cape Shield and Port Roper. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding today.

Heavy rain may lead to localised flooding and significant stream rises over the eastern Top End and northern Roper-McArthur Districts today and tomorrow.

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