Low pressure system stirs concerns for Australia as the potential formation of a tropical cyclone looms near Solomon Islands.
Preliminary indications suggest the potential formation of a tropical cyclone near the Solomon Islands next week, with some forecast models suggesting that the system may briefly enter Australia’s area of responsibility, as reported by Australia’s Weather Zone. Australia’s official tropical cyclone season typically runs from November to April. During this six-month period, we typically observe the development of around 9 to 10 tropical cyclones within Australia’s area of responsibility. While most tropical cyclones near Australia tend to form between November and April, they can develop in or near the Australian Region at any time of the year. A notable example of this occurred in late July 2022 when a rare winter tropical cyclone formed over the Indian Ocean to the west of the Cocos-Keeling Islands. Another mid-year cyclone occurred in 2015 when Tropical Cyclone Raquel formed near the Solomon Islands on July 1. Remarkably, Raquel became the first tropical cyclone on record to form in Australia’s Eastern Region during July. According to Weather Zone’s historical data, there have been a couple of tropical cyclones near the fringes of the Australian Region during October, including Alex in 2001 and Oscar in 1983. However, it’s worth noting that these cyclones were both located over the Indian Ocean, near the western boundary of the Australian Region. In the modern era of satellite-based records, no tropical cyclone has been observed inside Australia’s Eastern Region during October.
A low-pressure system is expected to form to the east of the Solomon Islands on Thursday or Friday. While the future development of this system is highly uncertain at this stage, some forecast models suggest it could intensify and move towards Australia’s area of responsibility early next week. The Bureau of Meteorology has designated this system as Tropical Low 01U and is currently assigning it a low chance (5 to 20%) of developing into a tropical cyclone over the weekend, with a moderate chance (25 to 50%) from early next week. The Bureau’s newly operational 7-day tropical cyclone outlook for this year indicates that this system could potentially enter the far northeastern corner of the Australian Region at some point early next week based on current model guidance. However, it’s important to emphasize that all forecast models currently show no signs that this system will directly impact Australia.
Tropical cyclones are notoriously difficult to predict, and the future development and trajectory of Tropical Low 01U remain highly uncertain at this early stage of its formation. Weather Zone’s meteorologists will continue to closely monitor this system and provide further updates in the coming days as needed.
Solomon Islands are currently experiencing an El Niño event. In the past, El Niño events have been associated with more tropical cyclone occurrences than average in the Solomon Islands region. The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) is thoroughly assessing the situation and plans to release its tropical cyclone outlook for the 2023/24 cyclone season by October 2023.