A tropical low close to the West Australian coast today became Cyclone Heidi, a Category 1 system. Today’s conditions have apparently become a lot more favourable for intensification than was expected yesterday, when even reaching category one strength was uncertain. Right now the Bureau of Meteorology track map shows they expect it will probably increase to become a Cat 2 before crossing a little south of Port Hedland later this evening.
But first, take a look at the beaming coming from Dampier radar:
However, check out this incredibly strong flash from this afternoon at Katherine, along with a synchronised spectrum line from Halls Creek. This is the first flash of this type I have seen in the year I have been keeping a close watch on Australia’s radars:
UPDATE: Jan 13, 2011
Heidi crossed close to Port Hedland overnight (Jan 12) packing sustained winds in the high-end Category 2 cyclone range. Rather than quickly losing form once overland as was expected, Heidi continued on her way and was still a Cat 1 cyclone as she neared Wittenoom, some 210 km inland. Not only did Heidi hold together so far inland, at 12:50 WST she formed a new eye, which persisted and grew ever larger until it tore apart at 19:00 WST.
To summarise, Category 2 Cyclone Heidi crossed the coast at approximately 03:30 local time. A little over nine hours later she is downgraded to a Cat 1. THEN an eye forms and holds together for another six hours.
You can watch it here on this loop: