Tropical Cyclone Josie Brings Wind and Rain to Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Josie brought wind and rain to Fiji on Saturday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Josie was located at latitude 19.2°S and longitude 177.4°E which put it about 105 miles (170 km) southwest of Suva, Fiji.  Josie was moving toward the east-southeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 998 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Josie formed within an area of thunderstorms that had persisted west of Fiji for several days.  A center of circulation developed within the area of thunderstorms and the Fiji Meteorological Service designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Josie.  The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Josie was somewhat asymmetrical.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  The strongest winds were occurring in a primary rainband east of the center of circulation,  The bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 160 miles (260 km) east of the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Josie will move through an area somewhat favorable for intensification during the next day or two.  Josie will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move near an area where westerly winds are blowing in the upper levels and those winds may already be responsible for the asymmetrical distribution of stronger storms.  The upper level winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear, but the shear may not be strong enough to prevent some intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Josie could intensify slowly during the next 24 to 48 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Josie is moving near the eastern end of a ridge which is steering Josie toward the east-southeast.  The westerly winds in the middle troposphere will continue to steer Tropical Cyclone Josie toward the southeast during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Josie will pass south of Viti Levu.  The center of Tropical Cyclone Josie will move near Kadavu and Ono in about 12 hours.  Even though the center of circulation will pass south of Viti Levu, Tropical Cyclone Josie will drop heavy rain there and the potential for flash floods will exist.  Josie will also bring gusty winds and heavy rain to Kadavu and Ono.