Xmas day cyclone fear for Australia's north

Weather forecasters say it's possible the very north of the Northern Territory could be struck by a cyclone this Christmas. Photo / Thinkstock
Weather forecasters say it's possible the very north of the Northern Territory could be struck by a cyclone this Christmas. Photo / Thinkstock

It may not be such a merry Christmas for folks in the very north of Australia if forecasts of a cyclone by the weekend come true.

Senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology in Darwin, Angeline Prasad, says there is a greater than 50 per cent chance a monsoon trough off the coast will become a low in the Arafura Sea to the north of Darwin

"This system has got a significant chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by the weekend,'' she said.

She said there was a high probability that any tropical cyclone that formed in the system would strike Australia between the Kimberley coast and the Carpentaria coast.

"We try our best to get a model consensus and work out where it is going to move and which part of the coast it will hit, and at this stage we can't say,'' she said.

Ms Prasad said the danger period for a cyclone crossing into Australia would be between Friday and Sunday.

There was a small chance the cyclone could form by Thursday, she said.

She added cyclones are highly unpredictable and it is difficult to say whether a cyclone will form.

She advised people in the Top End to ensure they have a cyclone kit ready, with a radio, batteries, essential clothes and food for three days, and the location of the nearest cyclone shelter.

"It is the cyclone season and it is going to continue until April and a cyclone can occur at any time,'' Ms Prasad said.

The northern part of Australia typically experiences two to three cyclones each season, which lasts until April, but this year forecasters are expecting slightly more than average.

On Christmas Eve in 1974, Cyclone Tracy devastated much of Darwin and killed 71 people.

- AAP

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