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NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Olwyn nearing landfall in Australia

March 12, 2015

Tropical Cyclone Olwyn was close to making landfall in the northern region of Western Australia when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has posted several warnings.

Warnings in Western Australia on March 12 (and March 13 local time) include: A tropical cyclone warning from Roebourne to Geraldton, including Karratha, Barrow Island, Onslow, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Carnarvon, Denham, Kalbarri and adjacent inland parts of the western Pilbara, western Gascoyne and western Central West Districts. A tropical cyclone watch is in effect from Geraldton to Jurien Bay and extending inland to Paynes Find.

In addition to warnings and watches there are red, yellow and blue alerts posted. A red alert is in effect from Mardie to Onslow including Onslow (excluding Pannawonica). A yellow alert is up from Onslow to Overlander Roadhouse, including Exmouth, Coral Bay, Cape Cuvier, Carnarvon, Wooramel and Denham.

A blue alert is in effect for residents in coastal communities between Roebourne to Mardie, including Point Samson, Wickham, Roebourne, Dampier, Pannawonica and from Overlander Roadhouse to Kalbarri including Billabong Roadhouse.

The International Space Station's RapidScat instrument captured data on Olwyn's winds on March 11 from 06:40 to 8:13 UTC (2:40 a.m. to 4:13 a.m. EDT). RapidScat revealed sustained winds between 20-25 meters per second (44 mph/72 kph to 56 mph/90 kph) occurring north, east and south of the center.

The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn on March 12 at 06:30 UTC (2:30 a.m. EDT) as it neared the town of Exmouth. Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape of Western Australia. The MODIS image showed a thick band of thunderstorms wrapping from the north to the eastern quadrant and into the center. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that satellite data shows ragged convection around the 15 nautical mile (17.2 miles/27.7 km)-wide eye.

On March 12, 2015 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT), Tropical cyclone Olwyn's maximum sustained winds were near 65 knots (75 mph/120 kph), making it a Category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. It was centered near 21.9 south latitude and 114.0 east longitude, just 60 nautical miles (69 miles/111 km) north of Learmonth, Australia. It was moving to the south-southwest at 16 knots (18.4 mph/29.6 kph).

Olwyn is forecast to make landfall near Cape Cuvier in the early hours of Friday (local time) and then move in a southerly direction, over the western coastline of Western Australia and exiting the southwestern part of the territory on March 14 near Albany. For updated forecasts from ABM, visit:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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