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Cyclone Sandra could head for Queensland

Last updated 15:30 07/03/2013
CYCLOEN SANDRA
The Early Warning Network

WHICH WAY: A tropical cyclone forecast track variation map of Cyclone Sandra possible paths.

CYCLONE SANDRA
Australia Bureau of Meteorology
CYCLONE SANDRA :This satellite image shows the storm forming off Australia.

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Tropical Cyclone Sandra is forming off the Queensland coast and weather experts say it could head in one of six different directions.

Australia's Early Warning Network has released a new map showing the cyclone's possible trajectories.

Varying computer guidance systems put the cyclone, which could strengthen to a Category 3 storm, on different paths.

While the low-pressure system over the Coral Sea was now heading towards New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, weather forecasters warned it could change direction after the weekend.

''A tropical cyclone should develop later today [Thursday] or overnight and head away from the coast over the next three days,'' a spokesman for The Early Warning Network said.

''What's not certain is where it heads from day four and onwards.

''At this stage there is little confidence in any model outcome from day four onwards as none of them are showing any agreement.''

The Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator Forecast and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts show the cyclone drifting well out to sea.

But the Global Forecast System has the cyclone making a turn and heading straight for the Queensland coast between Mackay and Rockhampton.

''Over the next few days, further models runs will chop and change the track again,'' the EWN spokesman said.

''Hopefully though we will start to see some similarities between models, longer term, to give us a better idea of where it is likely to head.''

The strong low-pressure system was currently sitting along the monsoon trough about 800 kilometres northeast of Townsville.

''It probably will change direction and curve more around to the south during the weekend, but there's just a question of how much it will do that,'' Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Ken Kato said.

''Whether it will curve right back, or whether it will curve more to the south and stay well out to sea is anyone's guess at the moment.

''There's a lot of uncertainty about it. We're entering speculation territory when we start looking into next week.''

Queensland's cyclone season officially ends on April 30.

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- Brisbane Times

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