Spectacular weather patterns are forming off WA's northern coast as Tropical Cyclone Narelle closes in. Picture: Sam Woodcock. Source: PerthNow
Spectacular weather patterns are forming off WA’s northern coast as Tropical Cyclone Narelle closes in. Picture: Sam Woodcock. Source: PerthNow

By Claire

The Pilbara coast is preparing for strong winds, gusts up to 100km/hr, thunderstorms, heavy rain and rough seas as Tropical Cyclone Narelle continues to move south-west, parallel to the Western Australian coast line. At this stage, TC Narelle is not expected to make landfall, sparing coastal towns from the worst conditions associated with the storm. 

Tropical Cyclone Narelle forecast map
Tropical Cyclone Narelle forecast map

TC Narelle began as a tropical low on the 7th January, but quickly intensified to a category 4 tropical cyclone by the 11th January. Forecast models suggest the TC will weaken over the next few days, being downgraded to a category 3 TC by tomorrow.

Warm sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean likely contributed to the rapid intensification of TC Narelle. In order for a tropical cyclone to form, sea surface temperatures need to be at least 26.5 degrees, which provides the storm with heat and water vapour as ‘fuel’.

TC Narelle is the second tropical cyclone to form in the Indian Ocean this cyclone season (the other being TC Mitchell in late December).

Tropical Cyclone names are taken from a pre-determined list, with each new storm beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. Once all of the names have been used, they go back to the start of the list.

List of tropical cyclone names for the Australian region
List of tropical cyclone names for the Australian region