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he unusual Morning Glory cloud formation that rolls in off the Gulf of Carpentaria has arrived about a month early, giving visitors and long-time residents of the remote region a rare treat.
Tex Battle, operator of the Sweers Island Fishing Resort in the gulf, said the long, pipe-like clouds have arrived each morning since Sunday.
“It's pretty spectacular,” said Mr Battle, who has spent 25 years on the island, located about 30 kilometres north of the mainland outpost of Burketown.
Mr Battle, 71, one of four residents on the island, said that while Morning Glory clouds can be found elsewhere in the world, such as the Gulf of Mexico, only in Australia can they be observed with regularity. Typically, they start in mid-September and arrive most mornings until October.
The clouds, which can be hundreds of kilometres long, are usually accompanied by winds of 10-15 knots, a pressure spike and falling temperatures. Conditions rebound rapidly after the cloud passes.
...the current light wind conditions across northern Australia that are favourable for the clouds are not likely to last. A series of fronts sweeping across the continent will bring more wild weather to southern cities in coming days and disrupt conditions further north, too.
“With these strong cold fronts coming through to the south, [the Morning Glories] will probably disappear again and reappear in September,” Mr Suter said. “It's going to be a fairly short-lived event.”