Tag Archives: Vanuatu

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Harold Brings Wind and Rain to Fiji

Powerful Tropical Cyclone Harold brought strong wind and heavy rain to parts of Fiji on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 19.4°S and longitude 178.7°E which put it about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Tavuki, Fiji.  Harold was moving toward the east-southeast at 22 m.p.h (35 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (270 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 930 mb.

The eye of Tropical Cyclone Harold passed directly over Kadavu Island, Fiji on Tuesday night.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Harold was 28.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 19.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 48.0.  Tropical Cyclone Harold probably caused significant damage to Kadavu.  Harold also brought gusty winds and heavy rain to Viti Levu.  Flash floods were likely to have occurred in areas that received heavy rain.

Tropical Cyclone Harold strengthened on Tuesday after it moved away from Vanuatu where it caused significant damage.  The eye became evident on satellite imagery again and a solid ring of thunderstorms formed a strong eyewall.  The strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms around the core of Harold generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical cyclone.  The size of the circulation around Tropical Cyclone Harold continued to increase in size.  Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 65 miles (105 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 250 miles (400 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move into an area less favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will increase in speed during the next 48 hours and the increased vertical wind shear will cause Tropical Cyclone Harold to weaken.  Harold could weaken slowly during the next 12 to 24 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Harold quickly toward the east-southeast.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold could reach Tonga within 12 to 18 hours.  Harold will be the equivalent of a major hurricane when it reaches Tonga.

Tropical Cyclone Harold Strengthens to Equivalent of Cat. 5 Hurricane

Tropical Cyclone Harold strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on Monday.  After weakening while the eye crossed the southern end of Espiritu Santo, the core of Harold rapidly intensified and the tropical cyclone became even more powerful.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 16.2°S and longitude 169.4°E which put it about 120 miles (195 km) north-northeast of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Harold was moving toward the east-southeast at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 165 m.p.h.  and there were wind gusts to 200 m.p.h. (320 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 912 mb.

The inner core of Tropical Cyclone Harold weakened when the eye moved across the southern end of Espiritu Santo.  For a time the eye was less distinct of satellite images.  However, the eye cleared out quickly after it moved back over water and the core of Harold strengthened further.  By Monday a small, well formed eye was evident infrared satellite images.  The eye had a diameter of 12 miles (19 km).  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 40 miles (65 km) from the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 190 miles (305 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Harold was 36.8.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 16.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 52.8.  Harold was capable of causing catastrophic damage.

The core of Tropical Cyclone Harold passed over the southern end of Espiritu Santo.  It then passed near the northern end of Malekula before battering Pentecost and Ambrym.  Harold likely caused catastrophic wind damage in those locations.  Tropical Cyclone Harold also dropped locally heavy rain over Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Pentecost, Maewo, and Ambrym.  Flash flooding probably occurred on those islands.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment capable of support an intense tropical cyclone during the next several days.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move under the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear.  If a rainband wraps around the existing eye and eyewall, then an eyewall replacement cycle could cause Tropical Cyclone Harold to weaken.  Tropical cyclones generally do not maintain Category 5 intensity for an extended period of time.  So, Tropical Cyclone Harold is likely to start to weaken within 24 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Harold toward the east-southeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Cyclone Harold will move away from Vanuatu.  Harold could approach Fiji within 36 hours and it could still be the equivalent of a major hurricane at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Harold Batters Espiritu Santo

Tropical Cyclone Harold battered Espiritu Santo on Sunday.  The eye of Harold moved over the southwestern part of Espiritu Santo.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 15.3°S and longitude 166.4°E which put it about 60 miles west-northwest of Luganville, Vanuatu.  Harold was moving toward the east at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 175 m.p.h. (280 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 929 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Harold strengthened on Sunday as it slowly approached northern Vanuatu.  A circular eye with a diameter of 18 miles (29 km) was evident on satellite images.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Harold.  Storms near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 120 miles (195 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Harold was 29.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 13.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) 43.2.  Harold was capable of causing significant damage.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move around the southwestern part of a high pressure system over the South Pacific Ocean.  The high will steer Harold toward the east-southeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold will move across the southern end of Espiritu Santo.  The center will also pass near the northern end of Malekula, near the southern end of Pentecost and near Ambrym.  Tropical Cyclone Harold will drop heavy rain over Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Pentecost, Ambrym, Epi, Ambae and Maewo.  Harold will move slowly and the heavy rain is likely to cause flash floods.  Strong winds blowing toward the coast could produce significant storm surges on the eastern and northern coasts of some islands.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment favorable for a strong tropical cyclone.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move under the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear.  Since the core of Tropical Cyclone Harold will pass over the southern end of Espiritu Santo, increased friction will cause the circulation to weaken during the next 12 to 24 hours.

Major Tropical Cyclone Harold Nears Vanuatu

Major Tropical Cyclone Harold neared Vanuatu on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Vanuatu was located at latitude 15.5°S and longitude 166.0°E which put it about 80 miles (130 km) west-northwest of Unmet, Vanuatu.  Harold was moving toward the southeast at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 949 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Harold intensified into the equivalent of a major hurricane.  The original small eye dissipated but a new larger eye developed on Saturday night.  The new eye was surround by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  The strongest rainbands were in the eastern and southern parts of the circulation.  Storms near the core of Harold generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the center of the tropical cyclone.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extended out 30 miles (50 km) from the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 125 miles (200 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Harold was 22.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 11.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 33.2.  Tropical Cyclone Harold was capable of causing major damage.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move around the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear and the wind shear could be strong enough to limit intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Harold could intensify further, but it may maintain its intensity on Sunday.

The ridge over the South Pacific Ocean will steer Tropical Cyclone Harold slowly toward the southeast during the next 24 hours.  On its anticipated track the core of Harold with the strongest winds will move slowly toward Malekula.  Tropical Cyclone Harold will drop heavy rain over central Vanuatu.  The slow movement of Harold could create the potential for very serious flooding on Espiritu Santo, Malekula, Ambrym and Epi.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Tropical Cyclone Irondro began to slowly weaken over the South Indian Ocean.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Tropical Cyclone Irondro was located at latitude 23.3°S and longitude 81.5°E which put it about 1275 miles (2060 km) southwest of Cocos Island.  Irondro was moving toward the southeast at 18 m.p.h. (29 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 958 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Harold Rapidly Intensifies into Equivalent of Hurricane/Typhoon

Tropical Cyclone Harold rapidly intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon west-northwest of Vanuatu on Friday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 14.1°S and longitude 164.1°E which put it about 170 miles (275 km) west-northwest of Nokuku, Vanuatu.  Harold was moving toward the southeast 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 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

The circulation around Tropical Cyclone Harold organized quickly on Friday.  The inner end of a rainband wrapped around the center of circulation and a small eye formed.  A ring of strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Harold.  The strongest rainbands were in the eastern half of the circulation.  Bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Storms around the core of the circulation generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away to the east of the tropical cyclone.

Winds to hurricane/typhoon force extend out 35 miles (55 km) from the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 140 miles (225 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Tropical Cyclone Harold was 17.8.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 12.0 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 29.8.  Harold was capable of causing serious damage.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move around the southwestern part of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Harold will strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane during the next 12 hours.

The upper level ridge will steer Tropical Cyclone Harold slowly toward the southeast during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Harold will gradually approach Espiritu Santo and Malekula in Vanuatu.  The core of Tropical Cyclone Harold could move across the central part of Vanuatu in 48 to 72 hours.  Harold is likely to be the equivalent of a major hurricane at that time.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Tropical Cyclone Irondro intensified into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon over the South Indian Ocean.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Cyclone Irondro was located at latitude 19.9°S and longitude 76.4°E which put it about 885 miles (1425 km) south-southeast of Diego Garcia.  Irondro was moving toward the east-southeast at 21 m.p.h. (33 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. (170 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Harold Drops Heavy Rain on Guadalcanal

Tropical Cyclone Harold dropped heavy rain over Guadalcanal and San Cristobal on Thursday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 10.8°S and longitude 162.1°E which put it about 10 miles (15 km) east of Hauraha, Solomon Islands.  Harold was moving toward the east-southeast at 25 m.p.h. (40 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 995 mb.

The center of Tropical Cyclone Harold passed near Guadalcanal and San Cristobal on Thursday night.  The circulation around Harold was gradually becoming more organized.  Multiple bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 90 miles (150 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move under the southwestern portion of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Those winds will create some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Storm Harold will continue to intensify and it will strengthen to the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.

The upper level ridge will steer Tropical Cyclone Harold toward the southeast.  On its anticipated track Harold will move away from the Solomon Islands on Friday and the weather should improve there.  Tropical Cyclone Harold could approach Vanuatu in 36 hours  and it could be he equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon at that time.

Tropical Cyclone Harold Forms West of Guadalcanal

Tropical Cyclone Harold formed west of Guadalcanal on Thursday.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Cyclone Harold was located at latitude 10.0°S and longitude 157.8°E which put it about 150 miles (240 km) west-southwest of Honiara, Solomon Islands.  Harold was moving toward the east-southeast at 8 m.p.h. (13 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 999 mb.

A distinct low level center of circulation developed in an area of thunderstorms over the southern Solomon Sea west of Guadalcanal on Thursday and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology designated the system as Tropical Cyclone Harold.  The circulation around Harold was still organizing.  Bands of strong thunderstorms developed west of the center of circulation.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms developed in the eastern periphery of Tropical Cyclone Harold.  Storms west of the center of circulation generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 90 miles (150 km) from the center.

Tropical Cyclone Harold will move through an environment favorable for intensification.  Harold will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move around the southwestern end of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Tropical Cyclone Harold will intensify and it will strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon.  Harold could intensify rapidly when the inner core becomes fully developed.

The upper level ridge will steer Tropical Cyclone Harold toward the southeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Harold could reach Rennell Island in 12 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Harold will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Guadalcanal, San Cristobal and Rennell Island.  Harold could reach Vanuatu within 72 hours.  Tropical Cyclone Harold is very likely to be the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon when it reaches Vanuatu.

Tropical Storm Kammuri Passes South of Guam

Tropical Storm Kammuri passed south of Guam on Tuesday.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Kammuri was located at latitude 11.8°N and longitude 141.8°E which put it about 225 miles (365 km) southwest of Guam.  Kammuri was moving toward the west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 985 mb.  The Tropical Storm Warnings for Guam, Rota, Saipan and Tinian were discontinued.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Kammuri exhibited greater organization on Tuesday.  Rainbands around the center of circulation were more circular.  Storms near the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the north and west of the tropical storm.  There were also more thunderstorms in bands north and west of the center of Kammuri.  Bands southeast of the center consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  The wind field around Tropical Storm Kammuri was also asymmetrical.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out farther in the northern half of the circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 240 miles (340 km) to the northeast of the center of Kammuri.  In contrast, tropical storm force winds only extended out 75 miles (120 km) to the southeast of the center of circulation.

Tropical Storm Kammuri will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next few days.  Kammuri will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move under the western end of an upper level ridge.  The ridge will produce easterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear.  The shear will slow the rate of intensification, but it will not be strong enough to prevent Tropical Storm Kammuri from getting stronger.  Kammuri is likely to intensify into a typhoon during the next 24 hours and it could strengthen into the equivalent of a major hurricane later this week.

Tropical Storm Kammuri will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western Pacific Ocean during the next 48 to 72 hours.  The ridge will steer Kammuri toward the northwest.  A second high pressure system will move eastward from Asia in about three days.  The second high will block Tropical Storm Kammuri from moving any farther toward the north and the high will steer Kammuri toward the west during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Kammuri will gradually move closer to the Philippines.

Elsewhere, over the South Pacific Ocean near Vanuatu vertical wind shear weakened Tropical Cyclone Rita.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Rita was located at latitude 15.3°S and longitude 169.0°E which put it about 180 miles (290 km) north of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Rita was moving toward the south at 5 m.p.h. (8 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 1000 mb.

Tropical Storm Kammuri Forms, Warnings Issued for Marianas

Tropical Storm Kammuri formed on Monday and warnings were issued for the Marianas.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Kammuri was located at latitude 10.2°N and longitude 149.0°E which put it about 415 miles (665 km) southeast of Guam.  Kammuri was moving toward the west-northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 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 1000 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan.

More thunderstorms formed near the center of a large low pressure system southeast of Guam on Monday and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Kammuri.  The circulation around Kammuri was still organizing on Monday night.  Multiple bands of showers and thunderstorms were forming and the bands were starting to revolve around the center of circulation.  Storms near the center began to generate upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm in all directions.

Tropical Storm Kammuri will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next few days.  Kammuri will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Kammuri will continue to intensify and it could strengthen into a typhoon within 36 hours.  Kammuri could eventually intensify into the equivalent of a major hurricane.

Tropical Storm Kammuri will move south of a subtropical high pressure system over the Western North Pacific Ocean during the next two days.  The high will steer Kammuri toward the west-northwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Kammuri will pass south of Guam in about 18 to 24 hours.  Kammuri could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain.  An upper level trough will approach Tropical Storm Kammuri from the northwest in about 48 hours.  The trough will weaken the upper level ridge and the steering currents will weaken.  Kammuri could meander after the steering currents weaken.

Elsewhere, over the South Pacific Ocean Tropical Cyclone Rita was weakening northeast of Vanuatu.  At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Tropical Cyclone Rita was located at latitude 14.3°S and longitude 170.0°E which put it about 265 miles (430 km) north-northeast of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Rita was moving toward the south-southwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 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 990 mb.

Tropical Cyclone Rita Develops North of Vanuatu

Tropical Cyclone Rita developed over the South Pacific Ocean north of Vanuatu on Sunday.  At 4:00 p.m. EST on Sunday the center of Tropical Cyclone Rita was located at latitude 11.5°S and longitude 169.4°E which put it about 455 miles (730 km) north of Port Vila, Vanuatu.  Rita was moving toward the south-southeast at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

A center of circulation in an area of low pressure north of Vanuatu exhibited greater organization on Sunday and the system was designated Tropical Cyclone Rita.  Rita had a distinct low level center of circulation.  A band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the western and northern sides of the center.  Other rainbands were revolving around the center of circulation.  Storms near the center were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical cyclone.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 120 miles (195 km) from the center of circulation.

Tropical Cyclone Rita will move through an environment relatively favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours.  Rita will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move under the western end of an upper level ridge over the South Pacific Ocean.  The ridge will produce northerly winds which will blow toward the top of the tropical cyclone.  Those winds will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The wind shear will inhibit intensification, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent Tropical Cyclone Rita from getting stronger.  Rita could strengthen into the equivalent of a hurricane/typhoon during the next 24 hours.

The ridge over the South Pacific Ocean will steer Tropical Cyclone Rita toward the south during several days.  On its anticipated track the center to Rita could approach Vanuatu in 48 to 72 hours.