Tropical Cyclone Gretel sped by New Caledonia on Sunday. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gretel was located at latitude 25.9°S and longitude 169.4°E which put it about 750 miles (1210 km) north-northwest of Auckland, New Zealand. Gretel was moving toward the southeast at 37 m.p.h. (60 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Gretel moved around the western end of high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean. The high steered Gretel rapidly toward the southeast and the tropical cyclone sped over the Coral Sea west of New Caledonia. Rainbands on the eastern side of Tropical Cyclone Gretel brought wind and rain to portions of New Caledonia on Sunday.
An upper level ridge produced strong northwesterly winds which created strong vertical wind shear. The wind shear tilted the circulation around Tropical Cyclone Gretel toward the southeast and Gretel began to weaken. The stronger thunderstorms were occurring in bands south and east of the center of Gretel. Bands in other parts of the tropical cyclone consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. The wind field around Gretel expanded when the tropical cyclone started to weaken. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 250 miles (400 km) from the center of circulation.
Tropical Cyclone Gretel will continue to move rapidly toward the southeast during the next several days. On its anticipated track Gretel could pass north of New Zealand in 24 to 36 hours.
Elsewhere, over the South Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Herold strengthened east of Madagascar. At 5:00 p.m EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Herold was located at latitude 15.5°S and longitude 53.2°E which put it about 405 miles (655 km) west-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius. Herold was moving toward the east-southeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 115 m.p.h. (185 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 972 mb. Tropical Cyclone Herold could reach Rodrigues in about 48 hours.
Tropical Cyclone Gretel formed over the Coral Sea east of Australia on Saturday. At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gretel was located at latitude 18.2°S and longitude 158.7°E which put it about 380 miles (615 km) west-northwest of Poum, New Caledonia. Gretel was moving toward the east-southeast at 22 m.p.h. (36 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 992 mb.
The circulation around an area of low pressure over the Coral Sea became better organized on Saturday and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Gretel. The circulation around Gretel was still organizing. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were developing in all parts of the circulation. Thunderstorms near the center of Gretel began to generate upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 100 miles (160 km) from the center of circulation.
Tropical Cyclone Gretel will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next day or so. Gretel will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. It will move under a small upper level ridge. The winds are weaker in the center of the ridge and there will be little vertical wind shear. Tropical Cyclone Gretel will intensify during the next 24 to 36 hours and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.
Tropical Cyclone Gretel will move around the southwestern portion of a subtropical high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean. The high will steer Gretel toward the east-southeast. On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Gretel could pass just west of New Caledonia during the next 18 to 30 hours. Gretel will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to New Caledonia on Sunday. The center of Tropical Cyclone Gretel could approach Norfolk Island in about 36 hours.