Tag Archives: SH18

Tropical Cyclone Donna Turns South As Eye Forms

An eye formed at the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna as it turned southward on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna was located at latitude 14.1°S and longitude 164.1°E which put it about 390 miles (625 km) northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Donna was moving toward the south at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (170 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (205 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 965 mb.

A primary rainband finally wrapped around the center of circulation on Saturday and a circular eye appeared on visible satellite imagery.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms revolved around the core of Tropical Cyclone Donna.  Thunderstorms in the core of the tropical cyclone generated strong upper level divergence which pumped out mass.  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 185 miles (295 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Donna was 17.8.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 14.4 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 32.2.

Tropical Cyclone Donna will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 24 to 36 hours.  Donna will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  Donna is moving near the western end of a upper level ridge and there are light northerly winds blowing toward the top of the circulation.  There is little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Cyclone Donna is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours.  The formation of an eye and a more organized inner core could allow Tropical Cyclone Donna to convert energy more efficiently and a period of rapid intensification is possible.  Tropical Cyclone Donna is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next day or so.

Tropical Cyclone Donna moved slowly westward as it neared the western end of a subtropical ridge.  Donna appears to have reached the end of the ridge and it has turned southward.  The tropical cyclone is likely to move south for another 24 hours.  A upper level trough will approach Donna from the west in about a day and northwesterly winds in the leading side of the trough are likely to push Donna southeast at a faster speed.  The westward movement of Tropical Cyclone Donna during the past several days reduced the potential threat to Vanuatu.  However, that same motion increased the potential threat to New Caledonia.

Rainbands in the eastern half of Tropical Cyclone Donna are likely to bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Vanuatu, but the core and strongest winds are likely to stay west of those islands.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Donna could approach New Caledonia in 36 to 48 hours.  The core of Tropical Cyclone Donna could pass over the Iles Loyaute.

Stronger Tropical Cyclone Donna Moves North of Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Donna strengthened on Thursday as it moved north of Vanuatu.  The center of Donna passed near the Banks Islands and the Torres Islands and it is currently located northwest of Espiritu Santo.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna was located at latitude 13.2°S and longitude 166.0°E which put it about 350 miles (560 km) north-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Donna was moving toward the west-southwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 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 967 mb.

A partial eyewall continued to wrap around the center of circulation, but a well defined eye did not form.  A band of thunderstorms extended about two thirds of the way around the center.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of the circulation.  Thunderstorms near the core of the circulation generated upper level divergence that pumped out mass to the southeast of Tropical Cyclone Donna.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out about 40 miles (65 km) from the center of circulation and winds to tropical storm force extend out about 140 miles (225 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) is 16.5.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 13.4 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 29.9.

Tropical Cyclone Donna will move through an area that will be somewhat favorable for intensification.  Donna will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level ridge east of Donna is producing northerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the tropical cyclone.  The upper level winds are generating moderate vertical wind shear and the shear seems to have slowed the intensification of Donna.  The strength of the upper level winds could decrease and intensification could resume on Friday.  Tropical Cyclone Donna could intensify into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A subtropical ridge to the south of Donna is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west-southwest and that general motion is expected to continue for about another 24 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Donna will reach the western end of the ridge in about a day or so and it will turn toward the south.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna will pass west of Espiritu Santo.  Guidance from the numerical models suggests the center of Donna could pass between Vanuatu and New Caledonia, but different models are predicting different tracks and so there is more uncertainty in the track at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Donna Moves Toward Vanuatu and Strengthens

Tropical Cyclone Donna moved toward Vanuatu and strengthened into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon on Wednesday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna was located at latitude 12.4°S and longitude 168.2°E which put it about 270 miles (435 km) north-northeast of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Donna was moving toward the west at 11 m.p.h. (17 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 976 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Donna organized further on Wednesday.  An eyelike feature appeared on some microwave satellite images.  An eyewall wrapped about two thirds of the way around the western side of the center of circulation.  A primary rainband curled around the southern and western portions of the core of Tropical Cyclone Donna.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms formed and revolved around the core of Donna.  Thunderstorms around the core generated strong upper level divergence which pumped out mass and allowed the pressure to decrease quickly.  A stronger pressure gradient force accelerated the air and resulted in faster wind speeds.

Tropical Cyclone Donna will continue to move through a favorable environment during the next several days.  Donna will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is currently in an area where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  The combination of warm water and little shear will produce further strengthening and Tropical Cyclone Donna could continue to intensify rapidly.  Donna could intensify into the equivalent of a major hurricane within 24 to 48 hours.

Donna is moving around the northern side of a subtropical ridge which is steering the tropical cyclone toward the west.  A general westerly motion is expected to continue for another 24 hours.  After that time Tropical Cyclone Donna will approach the western end of the ridge and it will turn more toward the south.  Guidance from numerical models differs on the timing and location of the turn toward the south.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Donna could approach some of the islands of northern Vanuatu in about 24 hours.  It could be a significant tropical cyclone at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Zena Shears Apart South of Fiji

Strong upper level winds blew the upper portion of the circulation east of the surface circulation of Tropical Cyclone Zena as it passed south of Fiji.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Zena was located at latitude 21.5°S and longitude 176.0°W which put it about 60 miles (95 km) west of Nuku’ Alofa, Tonga.  Zena was moving toward the east-southeast at 36 m.p.h. (58 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 988 mb.

Although Tropical Cyclone Zena briefly reached hurricane/typhoon intensity on Tuesday, it always consisted of a very small circulation which was very susceptible to vertical wind shear.  When an upper level ridge northeast of Zena increased west-northwesterly winds over the top of the tropical cyclone, those winds blew the upper portion of the circulation east of the center. The circulation of Zena lost its vertical integrity and it was difficult to find a well defined center of circulation at the surface by late Wednesday.  The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Zena are on a trend of rapid weakening.  The vertical wind shear is expected to continue and Zena could dissipate within 24 to 36 hours while it passes south of Niue.

Tropical Cyclone Zena Forms Near Vanuatu and Moves Toward Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Zena formed near Vanuatu on Tuesday.  After several weaker circulations developed within a large trough of low pressure that extended from Tonga west-northwest to near Vanuatu during the past few days, a stronger center of circulation organized near Espiritu Santo on Tuesday.  Thunderstorms consolidated around the center of circulation and the system was designated at Tropical Cyclone Zena (18P).

At 10:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Zena was located at latitude 17.6°S and longitude 173.1°E which put it about 300 miles (480 km) west of Nadi, Fiji.  Zena was moving toward the east-southeast at 27 m.p.h. (44 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 978 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Zena is a small system.  Tropical storm force winds only extend out about 100 miles (160 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) for Zena is only 6.4  A primary rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and a tiny pinhole eye has appeared intermittently on satellite imagery.  There is a circular ring of thunderstorms at the core of Zena.  The outer portion of the circulation is asymmetrical.  Most of the bands of thunderstorms are east of the center of circulation.

The environment around Tropical Cyclone Zena is somewhat favorable for intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C to 30°C.  An upper level ridge is generating moderate west-northwesterly winds around the tropical cyclone.  Much stronger upper level winds are south of Tropical Cyclone Zena.  The upper level winds are inhibiting outflow to the west of the center of the circulation, but they did not inhibit intensification on Tuesday.  Rapid motion of Tropical Cyclone Zena toward the east-southeast appears to have offset some of the effects of the vertical wind shear.  Zena could continue to intensify in the short term, but its small size could make it very vulnerable to the effects of vertical wind shear, if the speed of the upper winds increase.

An upper level ridge located northeast of Zena is steering the tropical cyclone rapidly toward the east-southeast.  That general motion is expected to continue for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Zena will be nearing Fiji in about 12 hours and it could be near Tonga in about 36 hours.  The center of Zena and the strongest winds could pass south of Viti Levu on Wednesday.

Tropical Cyclone Zena could bring strong winds to any of the southern islands of Fiji including southern Viti Levu, Beqa, Kadavu, Lau and the Lomaiviti group.  It could also cause heavy rain and floods.  Tropical Cyclone Zena could bring wind and rain to Tonga on Thursday.