Tropical Cyclone Niko Passing East of Tahiti

The center of Tropical Cyclone Niko is passing east of Tahiti.  At 11:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday the center of Tropical Cyclone Niko was located at latitude 17.8°N and longitude 147.9°E which put it about 120 miles east of Papeete, Tahiti.  Niko was moving toward the south-southeast at 13 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. and there were gusts to 75 m.p.h.  The minimum surface pressure was estimated to be 985 mb.

Niko is a small tropical cyclone and even though it is passing within 120 miles of Tahiti, it is having a minimal effect on the weather there.  A subtropical ridge is expected to continue to steer Niko south-southeasterly direction, which will carry it away from Tahiti, although it could come close to the island of Mehetia.  The north-northwesterly winds that are steering Niko are also creating some wind shear.  The wind shear is limiting the intensification of Niko, but it is still over warm Sea Surface Temperatures and some intensification is possible on Thursday.  By Friday Niko is likely to be far enough south that is will start to move over cooler Sea Surface Temperatures and encounter stronger upper level winds.  So, Niko is likely to start to weaken in about 36 to 48 hours.