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Hurricane Season 2007: Isobel (Western Pacific)
01.03.07
 
Australia Begins Clean-up After Tropical Cyclone Isobel

The remnants of tropical cyclone Isobel combined with another storm on Thurs., Jan. 4, to form a deep low pressure system which swept through parts of Western Australia, leaving a swath of wind damage and localized flooding. Wind gusts in some areas peaked over 111 kilometers per hour (69 mph), with rainfall up to 185 millimeters (7.28 inches) in just 24-36 hours.

Some local businesses experienced minor flooding and trees fell on about six homes, but officials reported no serious injuries. Several boats were damaged, including one which sank, and the coastline at Esperance received significant erosion. The South Coast Highway remains closed between Ravensthorpe and Esperance because of flooding. Scattered power outages also remain, but full service is expected to return by late Fri., Jan. 5.

A forecaster with Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the storm had weakened as it moved out to sea but coastal areas in southern Western Australia and South Australia would experience rain and strong wind in the coming days.

Tropical cyclones often form in the Indian Ocean between December and March, but rarely threaten the coast of Australia. Isobel made landfall as a category one tropical cyclone on Western Australia's Pilbara coast, northeast of Port Hedland, early Wed., Jan. 3, with wind gusts up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph).

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Isobel
Click image to enlarge

This satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Isobel, taken by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 11:38 a.m. EST on Wed., Jan. 3 (1638 UTC), shows a top-down-view of rain intensity as the storm was making landfall. Estimated rain rates across much of the cyclone ranged from 15 to 25 millimeters (0.59 to 0.98 inches) per hour, with isolated areas of more intense rainfall, up to 40 millimeters (1.57 inches) per hour (red shading). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, Goddard Space Flight Center



A Weakened Isobel Hits Australia's Northwest Coast

Isobel made landfall as a category one tropical cyclone on Western Australia's Pilbara coast, northeast of Port Hedland, early Wed., Jan. 3, with wind gusts up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph).

At 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) on Wed., Jan. 3, Isobel was about 215 miles southeast of Port Hedland, Australia, and was moving south-southeast at 27 knots (31 mph). It had moved well-inland, ahead of an approaching low-pressure area, and was rapidly weakening. Maximum sustained winds decreased to 25 knots (29 mph), with gusts to 35 knots (40 mph).

Forecasters are concerned that damaging floods are possible over the next two days as the remnants of the cyclone combine with the approaching storm system. Rainfall could reach 150 millimeters (5.9 inches) in the same areas devastated by drought throughout much of last year. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, Goddard Space Flight Center

 
 
Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center