DISCUSSION: On Saturday, July 16th, the first cyclone of the year formed in the Southern Indian Ocean. Tropical cyclones in this part of the world are quite rare during this time of year as it is currently winter in the Southern Hemisphere. However, this year warmer than normal water temperatures have persisted throughout the entire basin setting the stage for Tropical Cyclone Abela to form. NASA's RapidScat instrument, which is aboard the International Space Station (ISS), measured Abela's wind speed on July 17th and recorded the strongest winds on the eastern side of the cyclone near 65 mph. This would classify the tropical cyclone as a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Saffir-Simpson wind speed scale. This makes Abela just shy of hurricane status by about 10 mph.
Tropical Cyclone Abela poses no threat to any land in the near future as the storm begins to slide further southwest into cooler waters. Unfavorable atmospheric conditions and the cooler waters will lead to the eventual destruction of Abela. The Southern Indian Ocean tropical cyclone season runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year. A typical season averages 10 tropical cyclones, with the first storm usually appearing in mid-November. To learn more about other high-impact weather across the Indian Ocean, be sure to click here!
DISCUSSION: As a strengthening low-pressure system continues moving southward with time over the next 12 to 24 hours, there will be an increasing threat for strong to possible severe thunderstorms across western parts of Victoria. Some of the primary threats include heavy rainfall, strong gusty winds, as well as potentially damaging hail in some of the stronger storms which develop. This enhanced thunderstorm threat will be due to the approach of an associated cold front which will help to life and destabilize air parcels positioned across the areas shaded inside and potentially just outside of the region shaded in orange within the graphic below courtesy of the Melbourne Storm Chasers group. If you live across Western Victoria, be sure to keep your eyes to the skies later today as strong to severe thunderstorms can rapidly develop and move quite rapidly; particularly when they develop along a relatively quick-moving cold front. To learn more about other high-impact weather from across Australia and the South Pacific Ocean region, be sure to click here!