Tropical Cyclone Ola developed on Saturday, local time, to the northwest of the island of New Caledonia, several hundred miles to the east of Queensland, Australia. Through the start of the new week with warm water and relatively light wind shear, further strengthening is expected.
Ola is expected to drift to the south or southwest through Sunday bringing bands of heavy rain and strong wind to New Caledonia. However, the center of the cyclone, along with the worst of the conditions, are expected to remain to the west of the island.
Despite this, 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain and wind gusts near 80 kph (50 mph) are expected to pound the Island, especially western areas. Rough surf and dangerous rip currents will affect all coasts.
As Ola drifts to the south through the start of the week it is expected to move into an area of increased wind shear. This wind shear will work to stop any ongoing strengthening and will eventually weaken the cyclone.
While the track of the system is still unclear during the middle of the coming week, with the wind shear expected to increase and weaken the system, the threat for significant impacts from the cyclone will greatly lessen.
With the significant weakening expected, the coast of eastern Australia is expected to remain free of significant impacts. However, beachgoers and boaters from northern New South Wales into southern Queensland should remain alert for rough surf and rip currents through the middle of the week.
With the exact track of the storm still unclear during the middle of the week, anyone with interests in the Coral Sea or along the coast should keep alert for updates.