Category Archives: Tropical Cyclones

A large circulation sproducing heavy rainfall, very strong winds and storm surges

Tropical Cyclone Victor South Pacific Ocean 15 to 19 January 2016

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A tropical cyclone has formed deep within the South Pacific Ocean at latitude 14.6 degrees south and 166.3 degrees west which places it south east of Western Samoa. This is the second tropical cyclone for the season for the South Pacific.

According to the CIMSS model this storm is forecast to travel south. Initial models suggested that the storm could reach an intense Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Scale however this has since been downgraded. Latest models only show a storm of Category 2 strength on the Saffir Simpson Scale with peak wind gusts to 90 knots or approximately 167 km/h.

The storm has formed over waters of 29C but its forecast movement south would take it over cooler waters of 26C which would assist in weakening the storm.

Based on models, the storm is unlikely to impact any land with its entire life span remaining over open ocean.

The forecast model is attached from CIMSS showing its initial movement. The storm has a well developed eye and is relatively large in area. A recent satellite picture shows a classic spiral storm system with well developed rain and storm bands. Should the storm maintain its track, then it is unlikely to impact any land area.


CIMSS (Forecast models for 15 and 17 January 2016.
NASA (MODIS WORLDVIEW) Acquired 15 and 17 January 2016.

Hurricane Pali forms in Central Pacific Ocean 11 January 2016

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This appears to be surreal but a hurricane has formed in the Central Pacific Ocean early to mid January. This storm is officially named and could be the first ever hurricane to form in the Central Pacific basin north of the equator this early in a calendar year.

What makes this storm even more unique and unusual is that it has formed just 8.3 degrees north of the equator and 172 degrees west. The forecast model from CIMSS suggest that the storm will track south or south west close to the equator over coming hours.

Notwithstanding the timing and location, it is generally regarded that a hurricane, cyclone or typhoon cannot form closer than 5 degrees to the equator because the Coriolis force along the equator is too weak to influence such storms.

Should the storm move closer to the equator as forecast, then it is likely that the storm will weaken because it will move too close to the equator.

This is only a Category one storm on the Saffir Simpson Scale but appears to be sustaining winds of 75 knots or approximately 139 km/h close to the core. The storm is not expected to impact any population centre due to its location well south west of Hawaii (Approximately 1,450 km south west of the big island).

The storm is currently over waters of 28C but its track to the south, south west would take it over waters of 29C. The storm has a small but clear visible eye.

The development of such a storm is most unexpected but it does show that in weather, the unusual must still be expected.


CIMSS Forecast plots of Hurricane Pali dated 11/1/2016.
NASA (Worldview with overlays) Satellite image acquired 12/1/2016.

Tropical Cyclone Ula redevelops for a second time 10/1/2016

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Tropical Cyclone Ula initially formed south east of Western Samoa but eventually decayed to a tropical storm over open ocean. The storm has since redeveloped into a tropical cyclone a second time which was not expected.

To date, the storm appears to have been taking an erratic path and has missed any population centre. The storm now a tropical cyclone is north east of New Caledonia and much closer to Australia.

Forecast models from CIMSS suggest the storm would track south then decay a second time over open ocean.

Most interestingly, the storm appears to have rapidly redeveloped within a favourable environment over waters that are only 28C. CIMSS forecast models suggest a storm reaching Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Scale before decaying with maximum peak winds of 125 knots or approximately 231 km/h.

This is only a small storm but has an intense band of rain and wind surrounding a well developed eye.

The storm has encroached towards the north east Queensland coast and would be visible on local weather charts over coming days. Should the storm not follow the forecast track as per the model, then this could become an interesting storm to watch as it would effectively be within Australian waters.


1 - CIMSS Forecast track for the tropical cyclone.
2 - NASA (Worldview with overlays) satellite image dated 10/1/2016.