Category Archives: South Pacific

Tropical Cyclone Hola Brings Wind and Rain to Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Hola brought strong winds and heavy rain to Vanuatu on Wednesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 17.4°S and longitude 165.5°E  which put it about 180 miles (290 km) west of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the west-southwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola intensified rapidly into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  A very small circular eye developed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms formed around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Rainbands were revolving around the core of the Tropical Cyclone Hola.  The strongest rainbands were occurring in the eastern side of the circulation.  The rainbands were weaker in the western half of Hola.  Storms around the core of the circulation were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.  The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Hola was fairly small.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 120 miles (195 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 24 to 36 hours.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is moving under a region where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Hola is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and it could become the equivalent of a major hurricane.

Tropical Cyclone Hola was moving around the northwestern end of a subtropical ridge which was steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-northwest.  Hola is forecast to turn more toward the south when it rounds the end of the ridge on Thursday.  It could move toward the southeast when it moves farther south.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Hola could approach New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute in a little over 24 hours.

Rainbands in the eastern half of Tropical Cyclone Hola brought gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of Vanuatu on Wednesday.  Wind and rain could increase over New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute by Friday.

Tropical Cyclone Hola Develops Over Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Hola developed over Vanuatu on Tuesday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 16.2°S and longitude 168.1°E which put it near Ambrym and about 110 miles (180 km) north of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the west-southwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

A large area of showers and thunderstorms northwest of Fiji moved slowly westward toward Vanuatu during the past few days.  The system was designated Tropical Cyclone Hola when a center of circulation developed in the area of storms on Tuesday.  Thunderstorms formed on all sides of the center, but there were more thunderstorms on the western side of the center.  Bands of showers and storms were beginning to revolve around the core of the circulation.  The storms near the center were starting to generate upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next two or three days.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds over that area are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Hola should intensify during the next 48 to 72 hours.  Rapid intensification could occur once the core of the circulation is fully organized.  Hola could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 hours.  Hola could become the equivalent of a major hurricane within three days.

Tropical Cyclone Hola is moving near the northwestern end of a subtropical ridge which is steering Hola toward the west-southwest.  A slow motion toward the southwest is forecast during the next day or so while Hola rounds the northwestern end of the ridge.  Tropical Cyclone Hola will turn more toward the southeast after it rounds the subtropical ridge.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola will move near Ambrym, Malekula, Paama, Lopevi, and Epi.  Hola is forecast to pass west of Port Vila, but it could be near New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute in two or three days.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will strengthen as it moves slowly toward the southwest during the next 24 hours.  The stronger tropical cyclone will produce gusty winds and it will drop heavy rain over the central parts of Vanuatu.  Heavy rain will fall over Espiritu Santo, Maewo, Ambae, Pentecost, Malo, Ambrym, Paama, Lopevi, Tongoa, Epi, Emae, the Shepherd Islands, Nguna, Emao, and Efate.  Locally heavy rain could create the potential for floods in some of those locations.

Former Tropical Cyclone Gita Speeds Toward New Zealand

After causing flooding in Samoa, significant damage in Tonga, and passing southeast of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, former Tropical Cyclone Gita sped toward New Zealand on Monday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of former Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 36.6°S and longitude 168.1°E, which put it about 575 miles (930 km) northwest of Wellington, New Zealand.  Gita was moving toward the southeast at 32 m.p.h. (52 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 979 mb.

An upper level trough near the east coast of Australia was generating strong northwesterly winds which were blowing across the top of former Tropical Cyclone Gita.  Those winds were causing significant vertical wind shear.  In addition, former Tropical Cyclone Gita has moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 23°C.  A combination of strong wind shear and colder water caused the structure of former Tropical Cyclone Gita to evolve into a powerful extratropical cyclone.  It has lost its warm core and a cold front appears to have formed.  The low level circulation has elongated in a north to south orientation.  Even though Gita is now an extratropical cyclone, it is still a powerful low pressure system.  The low is producing winds to 65 m.p.h.  (105 km/h).  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center of circulation.

The upper level trough is steering former Tropical Cyclone Gita quickly toward the southeast.  On its anticipated track the extratropical cyclone will reach the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand in 12 to 18 hours.  It will produce strong gusty winds capable of toppling trees and bringing down power lines.  The extratropical cyclone will also drop locally heavy rain and it could contribute to flash flooding.

Strong Tropical Cyclone Gita Moves Toward New Caledonia

Strong Tropical Cyclone Gita moved toward New Caledonia on Wednesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 21.6°S and longitude 173.7°E which put it about 510 miles (825 km) east of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Gita was moving toward the west at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 949 mb.  Tropical Cyclone Gita was the equivalent of a major hurricane.

The structure of Tropical Cyclone Gita is similar to that of an annular hurricane.  There is a large eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring.  The circulation is symmetrical and several rainbands are revolving around the core of the circulation.  Storms in the core are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 165 miles (270 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Gita will be moving through an environment that is favorable for strong tropical cyclone for several more days.  Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  Tropical Cyclone Gita is moving under the western end of an upper level ridge and the upper level winds are weak.  There is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical cyclones with a symmetrical annular structure often are able to maintain their intensity and Tropical Cyclone Gita could stay strong or weaken very slowly during the next 24 hours.  Gita will get close to the western end of the upper level ridge in a day or so and stronger upper level winds could cause more vertical wind shear at that time.

The ridge is steering Tropical Cyclone Gita toward the west.  Gita is likely to move more toward the southwest when it approaches the western end of the ridge.  It is likely to reach the western end of the ridge in about 48 hours, and Gita will turn more toward the south at that time.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita is expected to pass south of Vanuatu.  Gita could approach the Iles Loyaute and New Caledonia in about 36 hours.

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Gita Hits Tonga, Threatens Southern Fiji

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Gita hit the most populated islands in Tonga on Monday and moved west to threaten the southernmost islands of Fiji.  Gita brought strong winds and very heavy rain to Tongapatu and Eau on Monday and there were reports of damage from Tonga.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 21.1°S and longitude 178.9°W which put it about 300 miles (480 km) southeast of Suva, Fiji.  Gita was moving toward the west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 935 mb.  Tropical Cyclone Gita was the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Gita remains a powerful tropical cyclone.  There is a circular eye at the center of circulation.  The eye is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring.  A rainband has wrapped most of the way around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gita and there are indications that a second, concentric eyewall is forming.  Other rainbands are revolving around the core of the circulation.  Storms in the core are producing strong upper level divergence which is pumping away mass and is allowing the tropical cyclone to remain very strong.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Gita is 28.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 20.5 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 48.8.  Those indices indicate that Tropical Cyclone Gita is capable of causing significant damage.

Tropical Cyclone Gita will remain in an environment favorable for strong tropical cyclones for another 24 to 36 hours.  Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  If a second concentric eyewall forms, then an eyewall replacement cycle could produce a fluctuation in intensity.  Gita could weaken when the inner eyewall dissipates.  The circulation could strengthen again if the outer eyewall remains intact and starts to contract around the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Gita is moving north of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west.  A general motion toward the west is expected to continue for another 48 to 72 hours.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita could move over the southernmost islands of Fiji on Tuesday.  The strongest part of Gita could affect Vatoa, Ono-i-lau, Tuvana-i-colo and Tuvana-i-ra.  Gita could bring destructive winds, locally heavy rain and storm surges to the southernmost parts of Fiji.  Tropical Cyclone Gita could approach southern Vanuatu and New Caledonia in about three days.

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Gita Threatens Tonga

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Gita posed an increasing threat to Tonga on Sunday night.  At 10:00 p.m. EST the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 21.7°S and longitude 173.2°W which put it about 120 miles (195 km) east of Nuku’Alofa, Tonga.  Gita was moving toward the west at 13 m.p.h. (21 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 155 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 944 mb.  Tropical Cyclone Gita was the equivalent of a major hurricane.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Gita is very well organized.  There is a circular eye at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that eye.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gita.  Storms in the core are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping mass away in all directions.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 165 miles (270 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Gita is 23.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 16.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 39.6.  Those indices indicate that Gita will be capable of causing major damage when it moves over Tonga on Monday.

Tropical Cyclone Gita will be moving through an environment favorable for strong tropical cyclones during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  The favorable environment could allow Tropical Cyclone Gita to intensify more before it reaches Tonga.

Tropical Cyclone Gita is moving north of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west.  A general motion toward the west is expected to continue for another two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita could reach Tonga within 12 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Gita will be capable of causing major wind damage when it reaches Tonga.  Gita will also drop heavy rain and flooding is possible.  Winds blowing the wind toward the coast could also produce significant storm surges in some locations.

Tropical Cyclone Gita Strengthens Near Niue

Tropical Cyclone Gita strengthened on Saturday as it passed just to the east of Niue.  Outer rainbands on the western side of Gita were bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to Niue.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 19.2°S and longitude 168.8°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) east-southeast of Niue.  Gita was moving toward the south at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 969 mb.  Tropical Cyclone Gita was the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Gita became more symmetrical on Saturday.  Several rainbands wrapped completely around the center of circulation.  A clear area appeared at the center of circulation on visible satellite images, which indicated that an eye was forming.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Other rainbands were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Tropical Cyclone Gita will move through an area favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  Tropical Cyclone Gita is moving around the eastern end of an upper level low, but the upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear.  There is drier air to the southwest of Gita, but it does not seem to be entering the circulation of the tropical cyclone.  Tropical Cyclone Gita will continue to intensify and it could strengthen rapidly.  Gita could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane.

The upper level low is steering Tropical Cyclone Gita toward the south.  Gita will turn toward the southeast in about 12 to 24 hours.  When Gita reaches the southern side of the upper low, it will move toward the west.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita will pass just to the southeast of Niue.  Gita could approach Tonga in about 36 hours and it could the equivalent of a major hurricane at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Gita Forms Near Samoa

Tropical Cyclone Gita formed near Samoa on Friday.  At 10:00 a.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 14.8°N and longitude 172.3°E which put it about 155 miles (250 km) west of Pago Pago, Samoa.  Gita was moving toward the east at 18 m.p.h. (29 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Gita was bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to Samoa.  The strongest rainbands were north and east of the center of circulation.  The bands south of the center consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  There appeared to be drier air in the southern half of the circulation which was inhibiting the development of taller clouds and stronger storms in that part of Gita.  Thunderstorms in the rainbands north of the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Gita will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification.  Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level low south of Gita is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds are causing some vertical wind shear, but the shear does not appear to be strong enough to prevent intensification.  The drier air in southern half of the circulation will inhibit intensification.  However, if some of the rainbands north of the center wrap around the southern side of the center, then they could reduce the effects of the drier air.  Tropical Cyclone Gita is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the weekend.

The upper low south of Gita is currently steering the tropical cyclone toward the east.  Gita will approach the eastern end of the upper low during the next 24 hours and it will move more toward the south.  Tropical cyclone Gita will turn back toward the west when it moves south of the upper low.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita will continue to bring gusty winds and heavy rain to Samoa for another 12 to 24 hours.  Gita could pass near Niue in 24 to 48 hours and it could move near Tonga in about three days.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi Develops Near New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Fehi developed over the Coral Sea near New Caledonia on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was located at latitude 19.7°S and longitude 162.2°E which put it about 360 miles (580 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Fehi was moving toward the south-southeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (90 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was not well organized for much of Sunday, but it exhibited signs of greater organization in recent hours.  An upper level low near eastern Australia was producing strong northwesterly winds that were blowing over the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused strong vertical wind shear for much of Sunday, but the shear appeared to decrease on Sunday night.  A distinct low level center of circulation was exposed on recent visible satellite images.  Most of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands south of the center of circulation.  More bands of showers and low clouds seemed to be forming in the northern half of the circulation.  A rainband appeared to be wrapping around the northern side of the circulation.  There was some upper level divergence to the southeast of Tropical Cyclone Fehi.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi will be moving through an environment that will be marginally favorable for intensification during the next day or two.  Fehi is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level low will continue to cause vertical wind shear, but the shear may be small enough to allow for intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could intensify during the next 24 hours.  When Fehi moves farther south, it will move over much cooler water and the tropical cyclone will start to weaken.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could make a transition to an extratropical cyclone in two or three days.

The upper low near eastern Australia is steering Tropical Cyclone Fehi toward the south-southeast.  A general motion toward the southeast is expected during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi is forecast to pass west of New Caledonia.  Although the center is likely to pass to the west of New Caledonia, rainbands on the eastern side of Fehi could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  Heavy could cause flash floods.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could approach New Zealand in about three days.  Fehi could be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time.

Weaker Tropical Cyclone Ella Passing North of Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Ella weakened on Saturday as passed north of Fiji.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Ella was located at latitude 12.9°S and longitude 178.9°E which put it about 365 miles (585 km) north-northeast of Nadi, Fiji.  Ella was moving toward the west at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Ella moved underneath an area of stronger upper level westerly winds on Saturday.  Stronger vertical wind shear pushed the upper part of the circulation east of the lower level circulation.  The center of the lower level circulation was completely exposed by late Saturday.  It consisted of a tight swirl of low clouds and showers.  Some thunderstorms were occurring in bands east of the low level center.

The small size of Tropical Cyclone Ella made it very vulnerable to increased vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Ella is forecast to continue to move under the upper level westerly winds.  Shear is likely to weaken Ella further even though it will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.

A subtropical ridge south of Ella is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue.  Tropical Cyclone Ella is forecast to move through Tuvalu, but it will pass north of Fiji.