Powerful Tropical Cyclone Donna Moves Toward New Caledonia

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Donna moved toward New Caledonia on Sunday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna was located at latitude 17.2°S and longitude 164.9°E which put it about 340 miles (550 km) north of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Donna was moving toward the south at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 135 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 942 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Donna intensified rapidly into the equivalent of a major hurricane on Sunday.  The core of Donna is very well organized.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounds a circular eye which has a diameter of 35 miles (55 km).  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  Thunderstorms around the eye are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping out mass.  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 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Donna was 26.7.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 17.5 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 44.2.

Tropical Cyclone Donna will move through an environment that will become less favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Donna will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It is currently in an area where upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  However, an upper level trough is approaching from the west.  Stronger northwesterly winds associated with the upper level trough will increase the vertical shear during the next several days and Tropical Cyclone Donna will weaken when the shear increases.

Donna is at the western end of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical cyclone slowly toward the south.  The approaching upper level trough will turn Tropical Cyclone Donna more toward the southeast in 12 to 24 hours.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna could approach the Iles Loyaute in about 24 hours.  Donna could move near the southern portion of New Caledonia within 36 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Donna could bring strong gusty winds and locally heavy rains to portions of New Caledonia.  Donna could also generate a storm surge on the Iles Loyaute and on parts of the southern coast of New Caledonia.