Cyclone Ann tracking map, as of 5pm May 12. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.
Cyclone Ann tracking map, as of 5pm May 12. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.

Late-brewing cyclone a rare sight for FNQ

UPDATE: TROPICAL Cyclone Ann has intensified overnight.

The category 2 system is about 1000km east of Cairns at the moment.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the system will weaken later today as it moves west-north-west.

 

EARLIER: EXPERTS are scratching their heads at the development of Cyclone Ann, which has joined the exclusive club of rare May cyclones.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Dean Narramore said there have been fewer than 10 listed May cyclones that have formed off Queensland in history.

The most recent was Cyclone Zane in 2013.

"It got as high as a category three, but weakened to a low by the time it crossed the coast near Lockhart River," he said. "To my knowledge, no May cyclones have crossed the coast as a tropical system."

 

Mr Narramore said while such late cyclones are rare, they can develop if the conditions are right.

"The tropical low that became Cyclone Ann developed out near the Solomon Islands, where the warm sea temperatures combined with a conducive environment and lack of wind shear caused the cyclone to form," he said.

Mr Narramore said Ann, which developed into a cyclone early yesterday, was unlikely to reach the coast at cyclone strength.

"At this stage, it's a category one system and likely to maintain that today, before weakening back to a low on Tuesday, then cross the coastal areas between Coen and Lockhart sometime Wednesday or Thursday," he said. "Even if it crosses as a low, it will still lead to strong winds and heavy rainfall from where it crosses."

SES Far Northern regional director Wayne Coutts said they would be monitoring the system closely as it progresses.

"The current predictions have it downgrading to a low before crossing, so we'll be watching to see if it changes and respond accordingly," he said.

"This wet season has been a return to the wet seasons of old; there's been quite a bit of rain and a few cyclones thrown into the mix, as well as terrible floods in Douglas and Townsville."

Mr Coutts said while May cyclones are rare, most Far Northerners should have made their cyclone preparations at the beginning of the wet season in November.

"While it's not very likely to be severe, it could still stir up some bad weather," he said. "As always, we advise the public to pay attention to weather updates and keep it at the front of your mind."

 

THE OUTLOOK

The Far North should see increase in showers as far south as Cairns from late tomorrow and Wednesday caused by moist onshore flow from Cyclone Ann.

Expect strong winds along the east coast, with moderate to heavy falls possible along the North Tropical Coast and Tablelands.