Welcome Tropical Cyclone Liua!
Note: sixteen hours after this article was written - around 7am ADST Thursday - TD91P was upgraded to a Category 1 Tropical Cyclone, named TC Liua.
On behalf of the Swellnet forecasting team, I'd like to officially welcome our first Tropical Depression for the South Pacific season.
TD91P has been meandering west of the Solomon Islands capital Honiara over the last day. Recently, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert, with high expectations that we'll see a significant Tropical Cyclone within the next 24 hours.
Interestingly, the South Pacific cyclone season doesn't begin until 1st November. The Bureau of Meteorology issues its first Tropical Cyclone forecasts around that time; in fact the broader seasonal outlook isn't due to be released until sometime in October.
If Tropical Depression 91P does in fact intensify to Tropical Cyclone strength, then it may be the earliest forming South Pacific Tropical Cyclone on record.
Whilst previous years have seen several Tropical Depressions form through the months of July, August and September, the earliest Tropical Cyclone recorded since the advent of satellite measurements was TC Lusi, which developed on 8th October 1997 and reached Category 2 strength.
Other notable Tropical Cyclones in October were TC Bebe (1972, Cat 3), TC Joti (1982, Cat 2), TC Martin (1997, Cat 3) and TC Xavier (2006, Cat 4).
Before the satelite era - which began during the 1969-70 season - two unnamed Tropical Cyclones were recorded in earlier months - a Category 2 system on August 19, 1950 and another Category 2 system on September 12, 1950.
Tropical Cyclone Raquel is also an interesting event. Named on June 30, 2015, TC Raquel persisted into July 2015 - crossing from one cyclone year into another - and thus earning two records of both the latest and earliest Tropical Cyclone for those seasons.
As for TD91P, there is some swell potential for South-east Queensland coasts.
Ordinarily, this part of the South Pacific isn't as frequently productive for our surf, because tropical cyclones tend to be steered away from the coast, and a myriad of island chains and atolls often shadow the swell potential of any system that lingers long enough to generate meaningful energy.
However, current model guidance suggests 91P will track south-east from the Solomon Islands over the coming days, reaching Tropical Cyclone strength and then curving to the west south-west (see chart below, from Friday morning).
Whilst this system won't be perfectly aligned within our swell window, and the bulk of the supporting ridge to the south-west will be aimed up into Paupa New Guinea, we should pick up a small pulse of north-east swell later Sunday and into Monday. Swellnet Pro subscribers will be able to follow the specific forecast updates in our detailed Forecaster Notes, here.