Northeast Australia braces for flooding in the aftermath of Jasper •

Northeast Australia braces for flooding in the aftermath of Jasper

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Tropical Cyclone Jasper as it approached northeastern Queensland on December 12.

“The 2023 tropical cyclone season in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific oceans has come to a close, but in the southern hemisphere near Australia, it has just begun. The region’s first tropical cyclone of the season formed in the Coral Sea in the first week of December,” said NASA.

“With top wind speeds of 220 kilometers (140 miles) per hour, the storm previously underwent rapid intensification to reach category-4 strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It later weakened when it faced dry air and wind shear, preventing a more symmetrical structure and clear eye by the time of this image.”

Jasper made landfall on Wednesday, December 13 in the far north regions of Queensland state as a Category 2 storm. 

Despite being downgraded, tens of thousands are without power and the storm is expected to dump a foot of rain in some areas. Residents are bracing for potential flash flooding.

According to the latest update from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Jasper is tracking in a northwesterly direction toward the Gulf of Carpentaria, where it could intensify back to cyclonic strength over the weekend.

“In its seasonal outlook released in October, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology projected that Australia would see fewer tropical cyclones than usual this season due to the presence of El Niño. Satellite observations collected since the 1970s show a gradual decline in the number of such storms forming near Australia,” said NASA.

“The Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects a continued downward trend in the frequency of Australian tropical cyclones in the future but an increase in the proportion of severe storms.”

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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