Tag Archives: SH12

Tropical Cyclones Winston and Tatiana Form over SW Pacific

A pair of tropical cyclones named Winston and Tatiana formed over the southwestern Pacific Ocean on Thursday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Winston was located at latitude 18.4°S and longitude 171.6°E which put it about 445 miles (720 km) west of Suva, Fiji.  Winston was moving toward the south at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 974 mb.

At 10:00 p.m. EST on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Tatiana was located at latitude 17.3°S and longitude 159.0°E which put it about 620 miles (1000 km) northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.  Tatiana was moving toward the east-southeast at 6 m.p.h. (10 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 982 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Winston is the stronger and more well organized storm.  It has a well developed eye surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  Winston is in a very favorable environment.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 31°C.  There is an upper level ridge over Winston and so the upper level winds are light and divergence is occurring in all directions.  Winston is likely to continue to intensify rapidly on Friday and it could become the equivalent of a major hurricane.

Tropical Cyclone Tatiana is smaller and not as well organized.  Tatiana is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30°C.  However the western end of the same upper level ridge that is over Winston is generating brisk northerly winds over the top of Tropical Cyclone Tatiana.  As a result, vertical wind shear is inhibiting upper level divergence to the north of the center of Tatiana and it is also tilting the circulation toward the south with height.  Wind shear is likely to prevent Tatiana from intensifying significantly.

A subtropical ridge is steering both Winston and Tatiana toward the south.  Tropical Cyclone Winston will pass west of Fiji, but it could come close enough to the extreme southeastern islands of Vanuatu to bring wind and rain to some of those islands.  Tropical Cyclone Tatiana is likely to pass west of New Caledonia, but it could bring rain and higher surf to the west coast of that island.