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Coal News Coal Markets Cyclone Jasper

Cyclone forming near Australia’s coast may have ‘severe impact’

Australia’s resource-rich Queensland state is bracing for its second tropical cyclone in a little more than a month, with a storm off the coast expected to strengthen during the weekend.

A tropical low developing in the Coral Sea is set to become a tropical cyclone by late Sunday or Monday, with a severe impact on Queensland possible as early as Tuesday. The storm is likely to move toward the coast, although its direction after Tuesday remains uncertain, the nation’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

The latest threat comes after Cyclone Jasper triggered destructive flooding and winds in Queensland last month, swamping crops and stranding residents on the rooftops of their homes. The Insurance Council of Australia declared the event an “insurance catastrophe.” The state is the nation’s biggest producer of sugar and has a large resources industry. That includes production of metallurgical and thermal coal, LNG, and base metals including copper, lead and zinc.

Another tropical low over central Northern Territory is expected to move into Western Australia early next week, and is likely to be close to the Pilbara coast by mid-week, the bureau said. The Pilbara region is home to the vast bulk of Australia’s iron ore mines.

The weather bureau said in October it expected a below-average number of tropical cyclones in 2023-24 due to El Niño. While that pattern often leads to hotter and drier conditions in the continent’s east, the nation’s summer so far has been marked by a prolonged deluge of rain that’s inundated homes and damaged crops from sugar to wheat. Australia’s cyclone season typically runs from November to April.