Weather News

Will Oma reach Queensland or stay away?

Ben Domensino, Wednesday February 20, 2019 - 15:10 AEDT

Tropical Cyclone Oma is moving towards eastern Australia and has prompted warnings for abnormally high tides, coastal flooding, hazardous surf and beach erosion. But will Oma reach the coast, or is it going to turn away?

At 10am Queensland time on Wednesday, category two Tropical Cyclone Oma was located about 1,110km to the northeast of Brisbane. The system should travel towards the southwest, across the Coral Sea, during the next few days and could get close to southeast Queensland on the weekend or early next week.

Oma's approach will cause a powerful swell to produce large waves in southeast Queensland and northeast NSW from Thursday and Friday. Should the system get close enough to the coast, wind will also start increasing along the coasts of southeast Queensland and northeast NSW on Friday.

While there is pretty good consensus between computer models regarding Oma's future movement out to Friday, things get harder to predict beyond this. Some reputable forecast models think that Oma will approach southeast Queensland on the weekend, while others keep the system a few hundred kilometres offshore until at least early next week.

The uncertainty surrounding Oma's movement beyond Friday is making it extremely difficult for official channels to alert communities about the likely weather this system will cause.

By 1pm Queensland time on Wednesday, warnings had been issued for hazardous surf and abnormally high tides in southeast Queensland and northeast NSW.

The Bureau of Meteorology may issue a cyclone watch for parts of Queensland during the next 24 hours, which will give more detail about the possible effects of Cyclone Oma, including wind and rainfall.

Oma's path from New Caledonia towards southeast Queensland is an uncommon track for tropical cyclones. During the last 20 years, only two tropical cyclones, or their remnants low pressure systems, have travelled southwest through the Coral Sea and made it within 500km of Brisbane. These were Cyclone Kerry in 2005 and Cyclone Linda in 2018. Neither of these made landfall in Queensland.

While there's still some uncertainty regarding Oma, this tropical cyclone has the potential to be a high impact weather event for southeast Queensland. More accurate information will become available each day.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2019

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Chilly mornings on the horizon for Brisbane

15:55 AEST The mercury is forecast drop into single figures by Friday morning in Queensland's capital, as cold and very dry air migrates across the region from the southwest.

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