Tropical cyclone Jasper grows into Category 5 monster – check our tracker and map to see when and where Australia will be hit
- Tropical cyclone Jasper will strengthen on Thursday
- The weather system will make landfall in Australia next week
- READ MORE: Heatwave forecast for large parts of Australia
Tropical cyclone Jasper has been upgraded to a category 3 system and is expected to strengthen further as it steams towards the Queensland coast.
Jasper is forecast to reach high-end category 4 intensity later on Thursday and possibly category 5 on Thursday night, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest forecast.
The ‘unusual’ cyclone was tracking south-southwest in the Coral Sea with wind gusts expected to reach 195km/h on Thursday night.
‘At this stage the highest risk of a cyclone impact is the region north of Mackay but severity of the coastal impact remains highly uncertain at this stage,’ the bureau said.
Over the weekend Jasper is likely to weaken but will remain as a tropical cyclone next week.
Tropical cyclone Jasper (pictured on Thursday morning) will hit a category 5 storm and is bearing down on the Queensland coast
The cyclone is expected to cross the coast early next week between Cairns and Mackay
Jasper is not only the first tropical cyclone of the season but is also believed to be the first to form off Australia in December during an El Nino.
‘It is rare to see a December cyclone let alone one where we do have El Nino,’ a bureau spokesperson said.
‘It is unusual to be seeing this. There aren’t too many cyclones we have seen through the month of December let alone early December.’
The bureau will issue regular updates to keep communities informed as the situation evolves over coming days.
The weather system will bring wind and heavy rain as far south as NSW
The slow approach of the cyclone should provide Queensland communities plenty of time to batten down the hatches and organise emergency measures before a potential impact.
Australia’s cyclone season runs from November to April but is typically most active in February and March.
‘There is a potential for tropical cyclone Jasper to move near the Queensland coast next week (but) there is large uncertainty as to which parts of the Queensland coast will be impacted,’ senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Tuesday.
‘The bureau will issue regular updates to keep communities informed as the situation evolves over the coming days.’
The Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone will likely ease in strength as it makes landfall
Meteorologist Steven Hadley said some modelling suggested Jasper could travel south and cross the coast near Brisbane as a tropical low.
‘But more likely than not, it would be in the tropical areas of Queensland … it’s just really too early to say just yet,’ he told ABC radio.
The bureau’s technical bulletin said recent guidance favoured a scenario where Jasper approached the Queensland coast between Cooktown and Mackay next week.
‘A small amount of guidance has a more southerly track, consequently moving the system towards the Queensland coast, south of Mackay,’ it said.
There are about 45 Queensland towns that will be the hardest hit from the cyclone
Queensland towns where Cyclone Jasper could make landfall
While some parts of the country will be wet next week, others are in for a heatwave
In other states, record-breaking temperatures loom as a scorching heatwave looks set to propel the mercury above 40C.
A band of high intensity pressure over central and northern Australia this week will see extreme temperatures in many outback regions, stretching as far down as Queensland’s southeast.
Maximum temperatures are expected in about a third of the country, with weather tipped to reach a blistering 44C or higher by Thursday in some parts.
Parts of Western Australia and South Australia at their shared border will get up to about 45C.
THE WEATHER IN YOUR CITY THIS WEEK
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 18 Max 29
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 20 Max 31
Saturday Sunny. Min 23 Max 35
Thursday Sunny. Min 20 Max 31
Friday Partly cloudy. Min 21 Max 30
Saturday Partly cloudy. Min 21 Max 30
Thursday Shower or two. Possible storm. Min 26 Max 34
Friday Shower or two. Possible storm. Min 26 Max 34
Saturday Shower or two. Possible storm. Min 27 Max 34
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 15 Max 24
Friday Showers developing. Min 18 Max 30
Saturday Showers. Min 15 Max 18
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 17 Max 28
Friday Sunny. Min 16 Max 29
Saturday Sunny. Min 13 Max 30
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 17 Max 33
Friday Shower or two. Min 20 Max 33
Saturday Showers. Min 15 Max 21
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 11 Max 23
Friday Shower or two. Min 11 Max 25
Saturday Shower or two. Min 13 Max 18
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 14 Max 32
Friday Shower or two. Min 16 Max 33
Saturday Becoming windy. Mostly sunny. Min 21 Max 36
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