Tropical Cyclone Lam Approaches Northern Territory Of Australia
Cyclone Lam track map issued at 2pm today. Picture: BOM Source: Supplied
SCHOOLS expected to be in the path of Tropical Cyclone Lam will be closed on Wednesday as the Top End community of Nhulunbuy braces for a severe storm expected to reach category four.
Chief Minister Adam Giles on Tuesday announced the closure of five schools.
“The residents of Nhulunbuy could wake up to gale force winds tomorrow morning so now is the time to act,” said Todd Smith, regional director of the Northern Territory Bureau of Meteorology. As of 2pm CST, the category two storm was about 260km east northeast of Nhulunbuy and travelling steadily westwards, he said. The BOM expects it to continue to intensify over the next 24 to 48 hours.
A cyclone watch alert is still current for Maningrida to Groot Eyelandt, and Elcho Island to Cape Shield are still covered by a cyclone warning.
Gusts at the centre of Tropical Cyclone Lam are currently at about 140km/h but by the time it reaches Nhulunbuy late on Thursday could reach speeds of 220-270km/h once it intensifies into a category three or four.
Meteorologists currently expect it to take a southerly turn and track down along the east coast of the top end, Mr Smith said. There is already significant rainfall around the 20-50mm range, and there will be much heavier falls along the coast as the cyclone nears.
A flood watch is current for the Arnhem Land and Gulf country coast, but Mr Smith said that there could be major falls in the Roper and McArthur River catchments towards the weekend with significant stream rises.
With a severe tropical cyclone from category three and above, there is more significant damage to infrastructure, damage to roofs, trees, and much greater danger to life, Mr Smith said. “Having infrastructure exposed to those winds for a long period of time is a concern,” he said.
The extent of the damage will depend on how close the storm’s eye passes near communities, he said.
Residents have not yet been told to evacuate, but they should be preparing their emergency kits if they haven’t yet done so, and have decided where to shelter.
The BOM will update its advice every three hours, and then more frequently as the cyclone nears land.
Courtesy of The Australian