Tropical Cyclone Tino Brings Wind, Rain to Eastern Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Tino brought wind and rain to eastern Fiji on Friday.  The core of Tino moved east of Vanua Levu but the large circulation around the tropical cyclone brought wind and rain across eastern Fiji.  There were reports of flash floods in some parts of Fiji.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Tino was located at latitude 18.6°S and longitude 176.7°W which put it about 190 miles (305 km) north-northwest of Nuku Alofa, Tonga.  Tino was moving toward the southeast at 27 m.p.h. (45 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 964 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Tino intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon as it moved over eastern Fiji.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and a possible eye was seen on some infrared satellite images.  The strongest winds were occurring in a ring of thunderstorms around the center of circulation.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the tropical cyclone.  There was a large circulation around Tropical Cyclone Tino.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 400 miles (645 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Tino was 11.5.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 22.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 34.1.  Tropical Cyclone Tino was capable of causing widespread mostly minor damage and smaller areas of more significant damage.

Tropical Cyclone Tino will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours.  Tino will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move around the southwestern portion of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough during the next 12 hours to prevent intensification.   The wind speed will increase in about a day or so and more vertical wind shear will cause Tropical Cyclone Tino to weaken when that occurs.

Tropical Cyclone Tino will around the southwestern end of a high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Tino toward the southeast.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Tino could affect Tonga within 12 hours.  Tino will be the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon when it moves over Tonga.  It will bring strong winds and rain.  Locally heavy rain could cause flash floods.