Two tropical cyclones have already developed, and another is expected to take shape in the next day or so over the waters surrounding Australia.
Tropical Cyclone Pam has already developed to the east of the Solomon Islands and northwest of Fiji. Rapid strengthening is expected over the next several days as Pam tracks southward over the open waters of the South Pacific.
While no direct landfall is expected, gusty winds and rain will impact parts of Vanuatu and Fiji through Friday. This cyclone has the potential to become the equivalent of a major hurricane in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Ocean. Power outages and flash flooding are the most likely impacts as the worst conditions associated with Pam remain over the open ocean.
An area of low pressure became better organized on Tuesday to the east of the Cape York Peninsula and is now Tropical Cyclone Nathan. The newly formed tropical system will track westward through the middle of the week lashing parts of the northern Queensland coastline with squally weather before stalling and turning back to the east prior to making landfall.
This cyclone will move through an area favorable for strengthening and is expected to become the equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.
Flooding downpours are expected from just south of Cairns northward through Cape Melville where rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) will be common with localized amounts over 200 mm (8 inches). While the strongest winds will remain offshore, isolated gusts can still result in downed branches and power lines from Wednesday into Friday.
The final area of concern takes us to the western coast of Australia where a cluster of showers and thunderstorms several hundred miles west of Broome are expected to become better organized and develop into a named tropical cyclone later this week.
A likely track to the south would bring the threat for strong winds and heavy rainfall to the western coastline of Western Australia from Exmouth southward to Perth. Flooding would likely be the greatest concern with this potential tropical system as rainfall amounts of 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) will be common. Any damaging winds will be limited to coastal areas near Exmouth, as weakening is expected once the potential cyclone interacts with the coastline.
While the rain will potentially lead to flooding problems, the rains will also be beneficial in the long run around Perth and the surrounding area. Rainfall since Feb. 4 has totaled only around 1 mm (0.04 of an inch).