Tropical Cyclone Tino Forms North of Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Tino formed north of Fiji on Thursday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Tino was located at latitude 14.3°S and longitude 178.3°E which put it about 155 miles (250 km) west-northwest of Labasa, Fiji.  Tino was moving toward the southeast at 13 m.p.h. (15 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 985 mb.

The circulation around a large area of low pressure north of Fiji consolidated around a distinct low level center of circulation on Thursday and the Fiji Meteorological Service designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Tino.  The circulation around Tino was still organizing.  A primary band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the northern, eastern and southern sides of the circulation.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were forming around Tropical Cyclone Tino.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 400 miles (645 km) north of the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 150 miles (240 km) from the center in the southern half of the tropical cyclone.

Tropical Cyclone Tino will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Tino will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move around the southwestern part of an upper level ridge.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will generate moderate vertical wind shear.  The wind shear will slow the rate of intensification, but the shear will not be strong enough to keep Tropical Cyclone Tino from getting stronger.  Tino could intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 to 36 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Tino will move southwest of a high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Tino toward the southeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Tino could be near the eastern end of Vanua Levu in about 12 hours.  Tino could approach Tonga in about 36 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Tino will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Vanua Levu, Taveuni and many of the smaller islands in eastern Fiji.  Locally heavy rain  could cause flash floods in some locations.