Darwin: Cyclone Ellie set to make landfall as category 1 storm

A massive storm is set to hit northern Australia early on Friday morning as the monsoon season kicks into gear.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed late on Thursday that a tropical cyclone had formed in the waters close to Darwin. The city could be hit by damaging winds and “intense rainfall”.

Called Ellie, the category one storm is expected to hit the Northern Territory coast at around 3am, close to or just west of Daly River about 200km south of Darwin.

It’s track could then take it south towards Timber Creek in the NT, or further west crossing into Western Australia and affecting the weather in areas near Kununurra and Wyndham.

In a cyclone bulletin, the BOM said a warning zone was in place between Daly River and the WA border. Ellie was already causing gales between Dundee Beach and Wadeye.

Sustained winds near the centre of the storm were around 75km/h with gusts of more than 100km/h.

“Gales with gusts to 90 kilometres per hour may develop south of Wadeye to the NT/WA border on Friday,” said the BOM.

“Heavy rainfall is occurring over the Daly district, and likely to extend into the Gregory and east Kimberley districts on Friday.

“Severe thunderstorms are also possible tonight and during Friday, with heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts possible.”

Severe weather warning for Darwin

Darwin isn’t in the direct path of the storm but that doesn’t mean the Territory capital won’t be affected by both Ellie and the monsoon.

The BOM has declared a severe weather warning for the city, Pine Creek and the Tiwi Islands.

Friday could see between 30-90mm in the city with the chance of a thunderstorm.

Damaging wind gusts of up to 90km/h could hit on Thursday and into Friday.

Intense bursts of rainfall may lead to flash flooding over the western Top End with monsoonal showers and thunderstorms during Thursday night and Friday.

“Emergency services are keeping a close eye on the possible tracks of this storm and our local emergency management teams have activated their plans and are making the necessary preparations to see their communities safely through this event,” incident controller Kylie Anderson told the NT News.

Rain will continue into Christmas Eve with a lesser amount for Christmas Day.

Kununurra, in WA, could also see up to 90mm of rain and Friday with strong winds.

Damaging gusts of up to 120 km/h should be expected depending on Ellie’s path.

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