Tropical Cyclone Gita strengthened on Saturday as it passed just to the east of Niue. Outer rainbands on the western side of Gita were bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to Niue. At 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 19.2°S and longitude 168.8°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) east-southeast of Niue. Gita was moving toward the south at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 969 mb. Tropical Cyclone Gita was the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.
The circulation of Tropical Cyclone Gita became more symmetrical on Saturday. Several rainbands wrapped completely around the center of circulation. A clear area appeared at the center of circulation on visible satellite images, which indicated that an eye was forming. A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring. Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone. Other rainbands were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Gita.
Tropical Cyclone Gita will move through an area favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours. Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. Tropical Cyclone Gita is moving around the eastern end of an upper level low, but the upper level winds are weak and there is not much vertical wind shear. There is drier air to the southwest of Gita, but it does not seem to be entering the circulation of the tropical cyclone. Tropical Cyclone Gita will continue to intensify and it could strengthen rapidly. Gita could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane.
The upper level low is steering Tropical Cyclone Gita toward the south. Gita will turn toward the southeast in about 12 to 24 hours. When Gita reaches the southern side of the upper low, it will move toward the west. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita will pass just to the southeast of Niue. Gita could approach Tonga in about 36 hours and it could the equivalent of a major hurricane at that time.
Tropical Cyclone Gita formed near Samoa on Friday. At 10:00 a.m. EST on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Gita was located at latitude 14.8°N and longitude 172.3°E which put it about 155 miles (250 km) west of Pago Pago, Samoa. Gita was moving toward the east at 18 m.p.h. (29 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 989 mb.
Tropical Cyclone Gita was bringing gusty winds and heavy rain to Samoa. The strongest rainbands were north and east of the center of circulation. The bands south of the center consisted primarily of showers and low clouds. There appeared to be drier air in the southern half of the circulation which was inhibiting the development of taller clouds and stronger storms in that part of Gita. Thunderstorms in the rainbands north of the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.
Tropical Cyclone Gita will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification. Gita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. An upper level low south of Gita is producing easterly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation. Those winds are causing some vertical wind shear, but the shear does not appear to be strong enough to prevent intensification. The drier air in southern half of the circulation will inhibit intensification. However, if some of the rainbands north of the center wrap around the southern side of the center, then they could reduce the effects of the drier air. Tropical Cyclone Gita is likely to intensify into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the weekend.
The upper low south of Gita is currently steering the tropical cyclone toward the east. Gita will approach the eastern end of the upper low during the next 24 hours and it will move more toward the south. Tropical cyclone Gita will turn back toward the west when it moves south of the upper low. On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Gita will continue to bring gusty winds and heavy rain to Samoa for another 12 to 24 hours. Gita could pass near Niue in 24 to 48 hours and it could move near Tonga in about three days.
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.