Tropical Cyclone Niran intensified to the equivalent of a major hurricane on Thursday night. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Niran was located at latitude 17.2°S and longitude 155.6°E which put it about 580 miles (935 km) east of Cairns, Australia. Niran was moving toward the east-southeast at 25 m.p.h. (40 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. (250 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 946 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Niran intensified to the equivalent of a major hurricane over the Coral Sea west of New Caledonia on Thursday night. A small circular eye with a diameter of 14 miles (22 km) was present at the center of Niran. The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Niran. Storms around the core generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.
There was a large area of strong winds around Tropical Cyclone Niran. Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 70 miles (110 km) from the center of Niran. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 250 miles (400 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Niran was 23.6. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 25.5 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.1. Tropical Cyclone Niran was capable of causing widespread major damage.
Tropical Cyclone Niran will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours. Niran will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures will be near 29°C. It will move under the axis an upper level ridge over the Coral Sea. The winds are weak near the axis of the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Cyclone Niran could continue to intensify during the next 12 hours. An upper level trough near eastern Australia will approach Niran in about 24 hours. The trough will produce northwesterly winds and the wind shear will begin to increase. More shear will cause Niran to start to weaken on Saturday.
Tropical Cyclone Niran will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system over the tropical South Pacific Ocean. The high will steer Niran toward the southeast during the next several days. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Niran could approach New Caledonia in 24 hours. Niran could be the equivalent of a major hurricane when it approaches New Caledonia. Tropical Cyclone Niran will be capable of causing widespread major damage to New Caledonia. Niran will also drop heavy rain and flash floods are likely to occur.