Tropical Cyclone Tino Speeds Across Tonga

Tropical Cyclone Tino sped quickly across Tonga on Saturday.  The core of Tino passed northeast of Nuku Alofa and the most populated island of Tonga.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Tino was located at latitude 24.0°S and longitude 170.6°E which put it about 370 miles (595 km) east-southeast of Nuku Alofa, Tonga.  Tino was moving toward the southeast at 26 m.p.h. (42 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 970 mb.

The strongest part of Tropical Cyclone Tino passed northeast of the more populated Tongatapu Group of islands in Tonga.  The core of Tino passed closer to the Vava’u Group and Ha’apai Group of islands in Tonga.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 350 miles (565 km) from the center of Tino.  Tropical Cyclone Tino brought gusty winds and heavy rain to parts of Tonga.

Tropical Cyclone Tino began to weaken after it passed across Tonga.  Tino moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was cooler than 26°C.  Tropical Cyclone Tino moved southwest of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge caused moderate vertical wind shear and the wind shear contributed to the weakening of Tino.  Colder Sea Surface Temperatures and moderate vertical wind shear will cause Tropical Cyclone Tino to make a transition to an extratropical cyclone during the next two days.