First cyclone forms off Queensland coast

Cyclone Owen forms off North Queensland coast


Cyclone Owen forecast track map issued at 4pm today.

Cyclone Owen forecast track map issued at 4pm today.

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The first cyclone of the season has formed in the Coral Sea, east of Cairns.

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THE first cyclone of the season has formed in the Coral Sea off the Far North Queensland Coast.

A low pressure system in the Coral Sea was officially named as Tropical Cyclone Owen by the Bureau of Meteorology at 4pm today.

Owen, a Category 1 system with a central pressure of 998 hPa is about 990km east northeast of Cairns.

The system has been moving south southeast today, but was recently slowed to about 8 kilometres per hour.

Owen is expected to deepen further overnight and is likely to reach Category 2 on tomorrow.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the system was likely to drift slowly south until tomorrow afternoon or evening, and is then expected to turn and move slowly to the west and commence a weakening trend.

This system poses no immediate threat to the Queensland coast, and is expected to remain well off the coast until it weakens later in the week.

The official BOM tropical cyclone outlook for the 2018-19 season predicted that four cyclones would form in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast, with one predicted to make landfall.

That stated a less active season than average was likely, due to the possible development of El Nino weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean and near average ocean temperatures to the north and east of Australia.

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