Tag Archives: Coral Sea

Tropical Cyclone Hola Stalls Between Vanuatu and New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Hola stalled between Vanuatu and New Caledonia on Thursday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 18.4°S and longitude 165.5°E which put it about 200 miles (320 km) west of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the south at 2 m.p.h. (3 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 961 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola weakened slightly while it move slowly between Vanuatu and New Caledonia.  The small eye was no longer visible on satellite images.  Thunderstorms were still occurring in the core of the circulation.  Most of the bands of showers and thunderstorms were in the eastern half of the circulation.  There were fewer thunderstorms west of the center of circulation.  The wind field exhibited a similar asymmetrical distribution.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 150 miles (240 km) in the eastern half of the circulation and about 100 miles (160 km) in the western half of the circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment marginally favorable for intensification on Friday.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough east of Australia will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause increasing vertical wind shear and the shear could become strong enough to inhibit intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Hola could intensify during the next 12 to 24 hours, but it will begin to weaken when the shear increases.

Tropical Cyclone Hola is near the western end of a subtropical ridge and it was in a region where the steering winds were weak on Thursday.  The upper level trough east of Australia will start to steer Hola toward the southeast on Friday.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola could approach the Iles Loyaute (the Loyalty Islands) within 24 hours.  Hola will likely still be the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Hola Brings Wind and Rain to Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Hola brought strong winds and heavy rain to Vanuatu on Wednesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Hola was located at latitude 17.4°S and longitude 165.5°E  which put it about 180 miles (290 km) west of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Hola was moving toward the west-southwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Hola intensified rapidly into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  A very small circular eye developed at the center of circulation.  A ring of strong thunderstorms formed around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Rainbands were revolving around the core of the Tropical Cyclone Hola.  The strongest rainbands were occurring in the eastern side of the circulation.  The rainbands were weaker in the western half of Hola.  Storms around the core of the circulation were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.  The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Hola was fairly small.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 120 miles (195 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Hola will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 24 to 36 hours.  Hola will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is moving under a region where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Hola is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and it could become the equivalent of a major hurricane.

Tropical Cyclone Hola was moving around the northwestern end of a subtropical ridge which was steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-northwest.  Hola is forecast to turn more toward the south when it rounds the end of the ridge on Thursday.  It could move toward the southeast when it moves farther south.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Hola could approach New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute in a little over 24 hours.

Rainbands in the eastern half of Tropical Cyclone Hola brought gusty winds and locally heavy rain to parts of Vanuatu on Wednesday.  Wind and rain could increase over New Caledonia and the Iles Loyaute by Friday.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi Develops Near New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Fehi developed over the Coral Sea near New Caledonia on Sunday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was located at latitude 19.7°S and longitude 162.2°E which put it about 360 miles (580 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Fehi was moving toward the south-southeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (90 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Fehi was not well organized for much of Sunday, but it exhibited signs of greater organization in recent hours.  An upper level low near eastern Australia was producing strong northwesterly winds that were blowing over the top of the circulation.  Those winds caused strong vertical wind shear for much of Sunday, but the shear appeared to decrease on Sunday night.  A distinct low level center of circulation was exposed on recent visible satellite images.  Most of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands south of the center of circulation.  More bands of showers and low clouds seemed to be forming in the northern half of the circulation.  A rainband appeared to be wrapping around the northern side of the circulation.  There was some upper level divergence to the southeast of Tropical Cyclone Fehi.

Tropical Cyclone Fehi will be moving through an environment that will be marginally favorable for intensification during the next day or two.  Fehi is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level low will continue to cause vertical wind shear, but the shear may be small enough to allow for intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could intensify during the next 24 hours.  When Fehi moves farther south, it will move over much cooler water and the tropical cyclone will start to weaken.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could make a transition to an extratropical cyclone in two or three days.

The upper low near eastern Australia is steering Tropical Cyclone Fehi toward the south-southeast.  A general motion toward the southeast is expected during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Fehi is forecast to pass west of New Caledonia.  Although the center is likely to pass to the west of New Caledonia, rainbands on the eastern side of Fehi could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  Heavy could cause flash floods.  Tropical Cyclone Fehi could approach New Zealand in about three days.  Fehi could be a strong extratropical cyclone at that time.

Tropical Low Forms Northeast of Queensland

A Tropical Low organized quickly northeast of Queensland over the Coral Sea on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of the Tropical Low was located at latitude 16.1°S and longitude 151.4°E which put it about 370 miles (600 km) northeast of Townsville, Australia.  The Tropical Low as moving toward the south at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

The low level circulation of the Tropical Low organized quickly on Thursday.  Numerous bands of showers and thunderstorms formed and they began to wrap around a center of circulation.  The distribution of showers and thunderstorms was relatively symmetrical, although there are a few more storms in the eastern half of the circulation.  Storms closer to the center started to generate upper level divergence.

The Tropical Low is in an environment that is very favorable for intensification.  The low is over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds are light and there is very little vertical wind shear.  The Tropical Low is likely to continue to organize quickly in the favorable environment and it will likely become a named tropical cyclone on Friday.  Once thunderstorms consolidate around the center of circulation, a period of rapid intensification may occur.

The Tropical Low is currently being steered to the south and that motion could continue for another 12 to 24 hours.  A strengthening subtropical ridge is forecast to turn the Tropical Low toward the west in about 24 hours.  On its anticipated track the Tropical Low could approach the coast of Queensland in about three days.

Tropical Cyclone 16P Forms Over Gulf of Carpentaria

After a quiet period of several weeks in the tropics Tropical Cyclone 16P formed over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone 16P was located at latitude 16.4°S and longitude 140.3°E which put it about 75 miles (120 km) east-northeast of Mornington Island and about 115 miles (185 km) southwest of Kowanyama, Australia.  Tropical Cyclone 16P was moving toward the east-southeast at 12 m.p.h. (18 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

An upper level ridge persisted over the Gulf of Carpentaria during the past few days.  The upper level ridge generated upper level divergence which enhanced rising motion and supported the development of thunderstorms.  Eventually, the upper level divergence pumped out enough mass to allow the surface pressure to decrease and the thunderstorms began to consolidate around a low level center.  The system developed enough organization on Tuesday to be classified as a tropical cyclone.

The organization of Tropical Cyclone 16P improved on Tuesday.  Spiral bands of thunderstorms wrapped around a low level center.  Strong thunderstorms near the center of circulation generated upper level divergence, especially to the east of the tropical cyclone.

The environment is favorable for intensification as long as the center of circulation remains over water.  The Sea Surface Temperatures are near 31°C in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.  An upper level ridge to the east of the tropical cyclone is generating some vertical wind shear, but the ridge is also enhancing upper level divergence.  The primary inhibiting factor is the proximity of the center of circulation to land.  Tropical Cyclone 16P could intensify further during the next 12 hours before it makes landfall.

The upper level ridge is steering Tropical Cyclone 16P toward the southeast coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria.  On its anticipated track Tropical cyclone 16P is expected to make landfall in Queensland near the mouth of the Gilbert River in about 12 hours.  The potential track after landfall is much more uncertain.  Some guidance suggests that the tropical cyclone could move across the Cape York peninsula toward the Coral Sea.  Other guidance suggests that the tropical cyclone could turn back toward the northwest and move back out into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Although Tropical Cyclone 16P is likely to cause minor wind damage, it could produce locally heavy rainfall and flooding when it moves over northeastern Queensland.

Tropical Cyclone Solo Passing Near New Caledonia

The center of Tropical Cyclone Solo is passing near New Caledonia.  At 10:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Solo was located at latitude 19.7°S and longitude 164.6°E which put it about 200 miles northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Solo was moving toward the southeast at 11 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. and there were gusts to 65 m.p.h.  The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.

Strong northwesterly winds in the upper levels are generating significant vertical wind shear over the top of Solo.  The strong upper level winds are blowing the tops of thunderstorms to the southeast side of the circulation.  The wind shear is disrupting the circulation and the low level center is exposed on visible satellite images.  Solo is weakening and that trend is likely to continue as it moves farther southeast.

Tropical Cyclone Ola Intensifying Northwest of New Caledonia

Tropical Cyclone Ola intensified rapidly on Saturday as it moved over the Coral Sea northwest of New Caledonia.  At 8:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Ola was located at latitude 19.9°S and longitude 162.9°E which put it about 260 miles northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Ola was moving toward the south-southeast at 8 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. and there were gusts to 95 m.p.h.  The minimum surface pressure was 970 mb.

Ola is moving over warm Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) and the environmental winds are generating upper level divergence to the southeast of the circulation.  The divergence pumped out mass and surface pressure decreased rapidly.  As a result, Ola intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane on Saturday.  Ola will remain over warm SSTs, but it will move into an area of stronger upper level winds when it moves farther southward.  It could intensify more during the next 24 hours, but it is likely to begin to weaken in 36 to 48 hours because of increasing vertical wind shear.

Counterclockwise flow around the western end of a subtropical ridge is steering Ola in a general southward direction.  That motion is expected to continue for another 24 hours.  A ridge of high pressure is expected to build south of Ola in a day or so.  The ridge could block Ola from moving any farther toward the south and turn it toward the southwest.  On the expected track, Ola would stay west of New Caledonia.  It is expected to weaken before it reaches Australia.