BRISBANE, (SMH) – A tropical depression over the Solomon Islands is being watched closely by meteorologists and climate experts alike in case the deep low pressure system forms into a second rare early season cyclone for the region.
This month, Cyclone Raquel became the first July cyclone in Australia’s eastern region since the satellite era began in the early 1970s.
Jess Carey, a spokesman from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Queensland office, said there was only about a one in five chance that the low over the islands would develop into a cyclone.
Conditions were not yet conducive for the low to form into a cyclone-strength storm but they might be “enhanced” over the weekend or early next week, Carey said.
Its direction could be “pretty much any direction on the compass”, although at a distance of 2000 kilometres from the Queensland coast it was unlikely to have an impact on the Australia mainland, he said.
Naming rights for the event, should it become a cyclone, depended on whether it formed in Australia’s eastern zone or Fiji’s area of coverage, he said.
Should it enter Australia’s zone, the storm would be the first clear August cyclone in the satellite era in that region.
That, along with Cyclone Raquel, was of particular interest to climatologists, Carey said.
“It’s certainly something we haven’t seen in the past 40 years,” he said.
Even if winds don’t reach cyclonic strength, the system could still bring damaging winds and heavy rains to the Solomons or other areas.