19 Feb 2015

Two severe tropical cyclones to hit Australia at the same time

During the next 6-12 hours, two severe tropical cyclones, Lam and Marcia, are going to make landfall in northern Australia, with damaging gusts of wind, heavy rain and a risk of flooding.

The north coast of Australia is no stranger to these powerful tropical beasts, driven by the warm, moist tropical air. Nevertheless to have two major storms hit at once is relatively unusual.oz_storms_EARTH_wp

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam is expected to make landfall near Elcho Island in Northern Territory as a category four storm on Friday, local time.

Gusts of wind around 140mph will be experienced close to its centre, with gales or severe gales widely expected in the vicinity of the storm.

Other hazards will include heavy rain and a storm surge along the coasts – both giving a risk of localised flooding.

The NOAA animation from below shows Lam from space, with most fierce storm clouds coloured orange and red, rotating around the storm’s centre.


Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia is forecast to make landfall as a category five storm on the Queensland coast, around 50 miles north of Rockhampton.

Around the centre of Marcia, destructive gusts of wind are expected to reach around 180mph along the coastline between St Lawrence and Gladstone on Friday morning, local time.


As with Lam, heavy rain, a storm surge and flooding will be a significant concern – especially for low-lying coastal areas.

Once the storms move inland, they will quickly weaken as they lose their energy supply from the tropical ocean waters.

Even so, the remnants of the storms will still provide a risk of heavy rain and flooding in the days to come.

The Australian region cyclone season officially runs from 1 November until 30 April, although it is possible for tropical storms to form outside of the official season.

Images: earth.nullschool.net and NOAA

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