“Darwin is preparing to weather the most intense storm ever seen in Australia’s northern waters, with winds of 350 kilometres an hour at the core of cyclone Monica. The category 5 storm is less than 400 kilometres from the Northern Territory capital, ” according to ABC Online.
Some time ago I discovered Jeff Master’s Wunderblog with everything you ever wanted to know about the next hurricane about to hit Florida, and then today I discovered he also covers Australia.
This is what he had to say about Monica and this year’s cyclone season in northern Australia:
“Australia’s hurricane season continues its parade of unusually intense storms this year with the intensification of Cyclone Monica today into a huge Category 5 storm. The 12 GMT advisory this morning from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center put Monica at 165 mph sustained winds and a 892 mb pressure, making it second most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. The most intense Southern Hemisphere cyclone on record was Cyclone Zoe of 2003, which had a 879 mb pressure. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology puts Monica’s pressure at 905 mb, which would make it the fifth strongest cyclone on record. Reliable records of cyclone intensity only go back to the mid-1980s in the Southern Hemisphere, but two of top five strongest hurricanes ever recorded there have occurred this year–Tropical Cyclone Glenda (898 mb) from March, and now Monica.
What’s really extraordinary about Monica is that she came so late in the season–tropical cyclone season is usually over by late April in the Southern Hemisphere. Monica’s formation echoes what happened in the Atlantic last year, with the intensification of Hurricane Wilma to a record 882 mb pressure very late in the hurricane season–October 19. When one adds in the $1 billion in devastation wrought in Queensland by Category 4 Cyclone Larry (915 mb) in March, Australians must feel like residents of hurricane alley in the Atlantic did last year, when three of the six strongest hurricanes on record occurred, causing the most damage ever–what’s going on with the weather?
However, be reminded that the Northern Hemisphere Pacific Ocean had a very below-normal tropical cyclone season last year, and the Indian Ocean also had below normal activity.”