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Tropical Cyclone Gretel Speeds By New Caledonia

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.