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Hurricane Season 2007: Kara (Western Pacific)
Cyclone Kara Downgraded as it Crossed the Australian Coast

Tropical cyclone Kara made landfall on Australia's Pilbara coast at Wallal between Port Hedland and Broome around 5 a.m. local time on Wed., Mar. 28, as a category one storm, with winds up to 54 knots (62 mph). Just a few days earlier, Kara's wind had exceeded 119 knots (137 mph).

The Bureau of Meteorology expects further dissipation on Fri., Mar. 30, as it dissipates into a remnant low pressure system.

Forecasters said the heaviest rains fell in far-eastern Pilbara and into western Kimberley. Although officials were concerned as rivers rose, no major flooding was reported. Winds also caused only minimal damage and resulted in few power outages. A mining operator was forced to close as Kara passed near its oil and gas facilities on the West Australian coast, but officials expect operations to resume soon. Australia has been battered by four cyclones since January, disrupting oil, gas, and mining operations, and claiming the lives of at least three people.

TRMM image of Tropical Cyclone Kara on March 25, 2007.
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This image of tropical cyclone Kara (above), taken by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite at 11:26 a.m. EDT (1526 UTC) on Sun., Mar. 25, shows a top-down-view of rain intensity. At the time, Kara was a strong, well-organized cyclone over open waters. Estimated rain rates of 15 to 25 millimeters (0.59 inches to 0.98 inches) per hour were common, with isolated areas of extreme rainfall (45 millimeters, or 1.77 inches per hour). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center

Weakening Cyclone Kara to Strike Australia

After forming over the weekend and quickly gaining intensity, cyclone Kara is now weakening but is expected to strike the Australian coast on Wed., Mar. 28.

At 5:00 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on Tues., Mar. 27, tropical cyclone Kara was located near 18.9 degrees south latitude and 118.1 degrees east longitude, or about 100 miles north-northwest of Port Hedland, Australia. Movement was toward the east-southeast at 10 knots (12 mph). Maximum sustained winds were near 80 knots (92 mph) with gusts to 100 knots (115 mph). The storm has weakened significantly since early Mon., Mar. 26, when sustained winds peaked at 105 knots (120 mph) and the system had a pinpoint eye.

Forecasters anticipate additional weakening as Kara encounters strong wind shear (changing wind speed and direction with height) as it interacts with a low pressure system to its south. Meanwhile, an elongated area of high pressure that extends from northern Australia into Indonesia will continue steering the cyclone on a southeasterly track, ultimately making landfall on Wed., Mar. 28, between Port Hedland and Broome on the Australian coast as a category one storm.

Terra image of Tropical Cyclone Kara
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This photo-like image of tropical cyclone Kara was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite on Mon., Mar. 26 at 10:25 p.m. EDT (225 UTC on Tues., Mar. 27). Although Kara had been weakening for several hours, it still had a distinct eye and symmetric shape, both signs of a strong system. The bumpy, thicker appearance of the clouds surrounding the eye is indicative of strong thunderstorms. Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team/Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption credit: Mike Bettwy, RSIS/Goddard Space Flight Center.
Mike Bettwy
Goddard Space Flight Center