A tropical low has developed near Vanuatu and the Solomons and next week has the potential to be a Severe Tropical Cyclone. It is not yet locked in, but longe range international modelling has been showing the storm forming for the best part of this past week.
Tracking does take the storm through northern to central parts of Vanuatu – but strength, timing and tracking are still not locked in. Those in Vanuatu should keep up to date with local authorities over the coming days. There is still a fair amount of uncertainty about where this tropical low will precisely track and with so many islands it’s too early to say who is most exposed.
While it’s still only a potential storm, the fact it may develop in the last week of October means it is forming earlier than the official cyclone starts, which runs from November 1 to March 31.
Future tracking southwards is also messy and unclear. El Nino tends to put more high pressure between NZ and Australia…a bit like an invisible brick wall in the sky to make it harder for tropical cyclones to reach NZ. However, highs aren’t always continuous in this zone so we’ll be monitoring any possible impact to the New Zealand area. It’s possible the leftovers of the low may track near northern NZ – but please remember sea temperatures are only just past their coldest at our latitude so we are not expecting a tropical storm coming into NZ, it will very likely fall apart. (ie, don’t think this is another Gabrielle for NZ). At this stage all modelling shows any remnants offshore well to our north as a fairly weak sub-tropical low. We need to explain this extra NZ detail as anxiety levels and PTSD are real for many following the storms and catastrophic floods earlier this year in New Zealand, which some weather forecasters experienced too.
For now, the focus on this storm is very much on the potential issues for Vanuatu next week and not NZ.
-WeatherWatch.co.nz is now providing extra Australia-only and Pacific-only updates on top of all our daily NZ content, so we’ll be covering storms for the tropics-only too as we go through this cyclone season. As always, keep up to date with any future local watches and warnings – in this case Vanuatu Meteorology.
Animation compares 2 of the world's most trusted weather models for the placement of the potential storm this coming Tuesday PM.
White lines = US modelling
Black animation = Europe. pic.twitter.com/JTkRp8i1Gj
— WeatherWatch.co.nz (@WeatherWatchNZ) October 20, 2023
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