Forecasters expect mainland Australia’s first cyclone of the season to impact Western Australia and the Northern Territory as a tropical low in the Timor Sea intensifies and heads for the coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology has established a warning zone between Dundee Beach in the NT and Kalumburu in WA, which includes the communities of Wadeye, Kununurra and Wyndham.
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At this stage, it is predicted the low will make landfall on the coast between Wyndham and Wadeye as a category-one cyclone.
If it does, which is likely, it will mark the first cyclone for the season to hit the Australian mainland.
The BOM has confirmed it will be named Ellie.
The first of the season was tropical cyclone Darian which formed west of the Cocos Keeling Islands.
Updates on Wednesday had it moving westward, taking it further away from the small Australian territory.
Communities within the warning zone have been told to brace for wind gusts to 90 kilometres per hour on Thursday night.
“If the system tracks further west, gales may extend to areas west of Wyndham, but not reaching as far west as Kalumburu,” the BOM warned.
“Heavy rainfall is likely to develop from tonight over the Daly district, extending into the Gregory and east Kimberley districts on Friday.
“Severe thunderstorms are also possible from this afternoon and during Friday, with heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts possible.”
BOM recommends avoiding the beachfront as the system moves towards the coast.
“Tides will be higher than normal between Dundee Beach and Wyndham,” it said.
“Large waves may produce minor flooding of low-lying coastal areas during Friday.”