1:40 a.m. Monday, March 6, Australia Central Standard time: Looks as if Tropical Cyclone Blanche, which formed in the Gulf of Joseph Bonaparte on Sunday afternoon, will be short-lived. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Blanche has peaked at 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts as it heads toward landfall southwest of Darwin – where some 1,200 Marines are deployed – and just north of Wyndham in the next 12 to 24 hours. It’ll still be a wet, gusty start of the week for the Leathernecks. PST will keep monitoring, but it appears as if this is the final report on Blanche.

5:20 p.m. Sunday, March 5, Australia Central Standard Time: Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued a tropical cyclone formation alert on a disturbance about 63 miles west-northwest of Darwin, where the U.S. deploys about 1,200 Marines and about 15 aircraft in a rotational force for six-month increments.

Global models depict the system, currently labeled 96S Invest, as moving southwest and gradually intensifying as it heads away from Darwin. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast throughout the rest of Sunday into Monday. Sustained 20-mph winds and 35-mph gusts are forecast as well.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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