Cyclone Uesi chance to hit later this week
A cyclone that has developed near Vanuatu has up to a 50% chance of heading towards Queensland on Thursday, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
At 1pm AEST Monday, Tropical Cyclone Uesi, currently a category 2 system, was located east of the eastern region, about 250km west of Vanuatu and 200km north-northwest of New Caledonia, the bureau said.
Tropical Cyclone Uesi is moving slowly south and is expected to continue moving southward for the next 48 to 72 hours, but may turn to the southwest late in the week and enter the eastern region.
Ben Domensino from Weatherzone said TC Uesi formed to the west of Vanuatu at midnight (Fiji time) on Sunday night and by midday on Monday, it had moved south and strengthened into a category two tropical cyclone.
"Cyclone Uesi should continue to strengthen as it moves towards the south during the next 24 hours, with the Fiji Meteorological Service predicting the system will reach category three intensity by midday on Tuesday," Mr Domensino said.
After impacting northern New Caledonia through to Wednesday, TC Uesi should continue moving towards the south while weakening, Mr Domensino said.
"The official track map issued by the Fiji Meteorological Service suggests that Uesi will have weakened to category one tropical cyclone by Wednesday night and be located over the southeastern Coral Sea, roughly 1000km away from Australia's east coast," he said.
"Where Uesi moves beyond Wednesday night will be of interest to communities in eastern Australia, particularly coastal areas that have recently been affected by damaging surf and flooding."
The forecast track map has the system moving a lot further south than cyclones tend to track, with Brisbane and northern New South Wales in the firing line for significant rainfall.
One weather model via Windy.com has the system bringing up to 400mm of rain to areas southwest of Brisbane.
"These impacts could include large and dangerous surf, strong winds and heavy rain. It's worth pointing out that dangerous wind and rain would only occur if the system gets close enough to the coast, while powerful surf can reach Australia even if the system stays well offshore," Mr Domensino said.
"It's also entirely possible that Uesi will stay far away from eastern Australia as it moves south into the Tasman Sea later this week. It's simply too early to know with certainty."
Mr Domensino said given the range of possibilities towards the end of this week, people living in eastern Australia should keep an eye on the development of this system "without getting alarmed at this stage".