Now a cyclone, NASA sees Lua closer to a landfall in northern Australia

Mar 15, 2012
On March 15, 2012, at 02:31 UTC, the MODIS instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured this visible image of Cyclone Lua when it was about 400 nautical miles northwest of Port Hedland, Australia. Lua strengthened into a Cyclone today. Credit: Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

Warnings are in effect and evacuations have taken place along the northern Australia coast near Port Hedland. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Lau as it strengthened into a Cyclone today, March 15, 2012.

On March 15, 2012 at 02:31 UTC, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Cyclone Lua when it was about 400 nautical miles northwest of Port Hedland, Australia. In the image, the bulk of clouds and showers appear to be over the northern and western quadrants of the storm. shows that Cyclone Lua is consolidating and has tightly-curved bands of thunderstorms wrapping into its center.

A Cyclone warning is now in effect for coastal areas from Bidyadanga to Mardie, including Port Hedland, Karratha and Dampier. A Cyclone Watch has been posted for coastal areas from Cape Leveque to Bidyadanga including Broome, and the eastern inland Pilbara including Newman and Telfer. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is issuing updates every three hours. To see the updates, visit: www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/.

Bloomberg Business reports the Chevron Corporation is evacuating workers along Australia's northwest coast from gas projects and are moving iron ore ships out to sea. Fox Business noted today, March 15, that Port Hedland has begun evacuating personnel and is preparing to shut down as Lua heads toward the Pilbara coast.

On March 15, 2012 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EST) Tropical cyclone Lua's had increased to 65 knots (75 mph/120 kph). It was centered near 15.7 South latitude and 113.0 East longitude, about 435 miles northwest of Port Hedland, Australia. It is generating very rough seas as it moves slowly toward the coast.

Cyclone Lua was moving to the west at 5 knots (5.7 mph/9.2 kph) and is expected to move toward the southeast in the next day. Forecasters at the Joint explained how Lua's direction will change later on March 15, "Lua is located within a competing steering environment but is expected to track east-southeastward to southeastward under the steering influence of the near equatorial ridge (elongated area of high pressure) as the subtropical ridge, positioned to the southwest, weakens and retrogrades over the next 24 hours."

Cyclone Lua is expected to continue strengthening to as much as 95 knots (109 mph/ 176 kph) before making landfall in the vicinity of Port Hedland on March 17 around mid-day local time. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a statement on March 15 around 12 p.m. EST (1:30 a.m. March 16, Darwin local time) that noted "[Cyclone Lua] is expected to accelerate towards the east Pilbara coast during Friday. Lua is expected to intensify into a severe tropical overnight and remain severe through to landfall."

As Lua nears, residents should make preparations for heavy rainfall, cyclone-force winds, and expect very rough surf along the east Pilbara and west Kimberley coastlines.

Explore further: Images released of shipwreck in San Francisco Bay

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

TRMM satellite sees tropical storm Lua's rainfall

Mar 14, 2012

A tropical storm called Lua formed in the Indian Ocean off Australia's northwestern coast on March 13, 2012. NASA's TRMM satellite passed over Lua and observed moderate rainfall and strong towering thunderstorms ...

NASA sees double tropical trouble in northern Australia

Mar 13, 2012

Northern Australia is dealing with two tropical systems today, and both were close enough to be captured on one satellite image. One of them has strengthened enough to be named Tropical Cyclone Lua, while ...

NASA eyes cyclone Iggy's threat to western Australia

Jan 28, 2012

NASA satellites are providing valuable data to forecasters as Tropical Cyclone Iggy nears Western Australia. NASA's Aqua satellite provided visible and infrared data on Iggy, observing colder cloud tops and ...

Recommended for you

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

1 minute ago

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...

NASA sees last vestiges of Tropical Depression Jack

17 hours ago

Tropical Cyclone Jack had weakened to a tropical depression when NASA and JAXA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed above on April 22, 2014 at 1120 UTC/7:20 a.m. EDT.

New discovery helps solve mystery source of African lava

20 hours ago

Floods of molten lava may sound like the stuff of apocalyptic theorists, but history is littered with evidence of such past events where vast lava outpourings originating deep in the Earth accompany the breakup ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...

On global warming, settled science and George Brandis

The Australian Attorney General, Senator George Brandis is no stranger to controversy. His statement in parliament that "people do have a right to be bigots" rapidly gained him notoriety, and it isn't hard to understand why ...

Phase transiting to a new quantum universe

(Phys.org) —Recent insight and discovery of a new class of quantum transition opens the way for a whole new subfield of materials physics and quantum technologies.

Imaging turns a corner

(Phys.org) —Scientists have developed a new microscope which enables a dramatically improved view of biological cells.