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    Carlos, and Now a New Australia Cyclone Threat

    By Story by Jim Andrews, AccuWeather.com Senior Forecaster
    February 18, 2011, 12:50:52 AM EST

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    Even as Carlos continues to inundate Darwin, a new tropical cyclone, dubbed Dianne, has taken shape off northwestern Australia, from whence it will eventually threaten the nation's west with damaging winds and flooding rain.

    Wednesday morning, EST, the center of T.C. Dianne lay about 300 miles northwest of Learmonth, near Cape North West, Western Australia. Highest sustained winds were at least 40 mph. The storm was nearly stationary.


    Satellite image shows T.C. Dianne off NW Australia, Feb. 16, 2011 (Australia Bureau of Meteorology).

    The atmospheric setting will favor intensification, even rapidly so, during the next two days, so Dianne could become the equivalent of a strong hurricane.

    Storm movement will become southward, maybe on a path intersecting the west coast of Australia near the end of the week.

    Direct high wind impact will be confined to open seas for at least the next two days. However, moisture linked to Dianne will trigger local flooding downpours over far-western Australia, most of which is sparsely settled desert.

    Depending on track, Dianne could eventually spark an outbreak of widespread flooding rain and even damaging winds.

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