Tropical Cyclone Donna Brings Wind and Rain to New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Donna brought wind and rain to New Caledonia as it moved over that region.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna was located at latitude 19.9°S and longitude 166.8°E which put it about 185 miles (295 km) north of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Donna was moving toward the south-southeast at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 962 mb.

The inner core of Tropical Cyclone Donna remained intact despite increased vertical wind shear on Monday.  A well formed circular eye with a diameter of 30 miles (50 km) was evident on microwave satellite images.  A ring of strong thunderstorms wrapped around the eye.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  The size of the circulation of Tropical Cyclone Donna increased on Monday.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out about 80 miles (130 km) on the eastern side of the center and about 45 miles (75 km) on the western side.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Donna was 19.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 23.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index was 42.5.  These indices suggest that Tropical Cyclone Donna is very similar in size and intensity to Hurricane Gustav in 2008 just before Gustav made landfall in Louisiana.

Tropical Cyclone Donna will weaken during the next several days.  An upper level trough is approaching it from the west.  The upper level trough is generating northwesterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  The northwesterly winds are inhibiting upper level divergence to the west of Donna and moderate vertical wind shear will continue to weaken the tropical cyclone.  In addition Tropical Cyclone Donna will move over cooler SSTs when it moves farther south.

The winds in the upper level trough are pushing Tropical Cyclone Donna toward the south-southeast.  That general motion is expected to continue during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the core of Tropical Cyclone Donna will move over the Iles Loyaute (Loyalty Islands).  Donna will bring strong gusty winds winds to those islands.  In addition rainbands will bring wind and heavy rain to parts of New Caledonia.  Tropical Cyclone Donna is capable of causing widespread serious damage.