Cyclone warnings issued for the Northern Territory as tropical low intensifies

Darwin 0800

A tropical low intensifying in the Arafura Sea is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone in the early hours of Thursday morning, with several Northern Territory communities predicted to be affected by severe weather.

Key Points:

  • The cyclone is expected to be named Tropical Cyclone Claudia in the early hours of Thursday morning and it is expected to intensify as it moves across the sea
  • Cyclone Claudia has been predicted hit the coastline early Friday morning between Gunbalanya and Goulburn Island
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has said they would issue a cyclone watch for Darwin this afternoon

A cyclone warning was issued this morning for several of the Territory’s largest remote communities in Arnhem Land.

Wind gusts of 110 kilometres an hour are expected to hit areas between Goulburn Island and Elcho Island, which includes the remote communities of Maningrida, Ramingining and Milingimbi.

If the tropical low develops as predicted, it will be called Tropical Cyclone Claudia.

Jude Scott from the Bureau of Meteorology said a cyclone watch would be issued for the Northern Territory capital of Darwin this afternoon.


A tracking map of the cyclone issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 10:53am Wednesday January 8, 2019 (Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology)

“That’s because there is a chance that there may be gale-force winds impacting in the Darwin area from late on Friday,” she said.

“What we can say with confidence is that the weather from Friday evening and into Saturday will deteriorate in the Darwin region and we can expect some very heavy rainfall.

“We are looking at some very damaging wind gusts, potentially for a sustained period.”


Darwin has been hit by severe cyclones in the past, with Tropical Cyclone Marcus causing extensive damage in March 2018. (ABC News: Neda Vanovac)

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned destructive winds of over 130 kilometres per hour could develop if the cyclone intensifies.

Emergency services working around the clock

A storm surge and dangerous rising tides are also forecast, with a risk of severe flooding for coastal areas.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said emergency services were working “around the clock” to prepare for the oncoming storm.

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Howling cyclone FB post

“The Territory has been affected by two major cyclones in as many years and both cyclone Marcus and Trevor are still fresh in the minds of many people across the Top End,” he said.

“Everything is being done to ensure the safety of residents and communities.”

Mr Gunner said recently constructed remote housing in the affected communities could survive cyclones up to category 4 and there were currently no planned evacuations.

NT Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Hebb said residents needed to start preparing their homes and emergency kits.

“It is an important time to remind people to avoid unnecessary travel when the conditions worsen,” he said.


A Darwin resident surveys their driveway after Cyclone Marcus hit in 2018. (Supplied: Jessica Meagher)