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Tropical Cyclone Narelle Parallels Australia Coast

By By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
January 14, 2013, 11:45:44 AM EST

Tropical Cyclone Narelle has begun a steady weakening trend as it moves slowly to the southwest over the opens waters west of Australia.

Sustained winds have fallen to 90 mph (145 kph), making the storm comparable to a strong category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic. The storm already reached its peak yesterday, when winds hit 130 mph (210 kph), and it will continue weakening slowly as it parallels the western coast.

Narelle is currently about 225 miles north-northwest of Learmonth, Australia. This area is no stranger to very power tropical cyclones, as the strongest wind gust ever reported on the Australian mainland occurred here during Tropical Cyclone Vance in 1999. This peak wind was reported to be 166 mph (267 kph).

Narelle will not have the same impacts on the region as the storm will remain offshore as it passes by, resulting in the strongest winds occurring well off the coastline.

Even with the storm remaining off shore, gusty winds to 40 mph (65 kph) and torrential downpours can still affect coastal areas through Monday.

As the storm continues to weaken, it could approach southwest parts of Australia by Tuesday or Wednesday. The storm may in fact lose its tropical characteristics all together before ever reaching the southwest coast. By this point the main threat would be for enhanced rainfall which could affect areas from Perth southward.

Another tropical disturbance is getting its act together in the Timor Sea near the same location that Narelle was born in. This disturbance may develop into another named tropical cyclone by late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Updated by Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani

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