Tropics


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WeatherWatch.co.nz has heard from a number of people who have experienced the true fury of a cyclone. 

Even unique stories of being in the eye of a cyclone.

We're keen to hear your story - if you've ever been in a cyclone or hurricane post a comment below and share what it was like.


Destructive Category 2 cyclone bearing down on Queensland

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Australia's Bureau of Meteorology is warning Queenslanders to brace themselves with gales expected within 24 hours as Tropical Cyclone Ului heads towards land.

Ului weakened a little further today but still remains a destructive category 2 cyclone. 

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the cyclone is still destructive. "There is almost no difference between a strong category 2 cyclone and a weak category 3. This storm still has the potential to be very destructive as makes landfall in an area well known for it's tropical beach resorts, banana plantations and sugar cane crops".


Queenslanders on alert ahead of Severe Cyclone Ului

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The third official cyclone advisory has been issued by Australian authorities as Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului moves closer to the Queensland coast.

A Cyclone "watch" has been declared for coastal areas from Cardwell to Yeppoon, including Townsville and Mackay.

As of this morning NZT Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului, still Category 3 although it has weakened a little (see stats at the bottom of this story), was estimated to be 1090 kilometres northeast of Mackay and 1220 kilometres east northeast of Townsville and moving south at 7 kilometres per hour says the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).


Ului weakens a little

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Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului has overnight been downgraded to a strong Category 3 cyclone with central pressure 952 hPa.

The cyclone has only weakened slightly but was enough to change it's category status.

Ului remains in a similar location located over the north-east Coral Sea - about 1160 km northeast of Mackay in Queensland.


Tomas clears Fiji, focus shifts to Ului

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Tropical Cyclone Tomas has been downgraded to a category 3 cyclone after clearing the Fijian islands overnight.  He is now out over open waters and rapidly leaving the island group.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says it's possible Tomas may bring slightly bigger seas to eastern beaches from East Cape to Gisborne and Hawkes Bay over the next two days however it will be weakening quickly over colder waters.  Cyclones need to feed off warm water to survive.

Tomas has sustained winds of 138km/h and may bring some rain and wind to Tonga, however nothing severe is currently expected there.


Cyclone Tomas clears Fiji, hercules enroute

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An Air Force Hercules is on its way Fiji carrying much-needed food rations and other emergency supples.

Cyclone Tomas is moving south east away from the group of Pacific islands, but it remains unclear just how much damage the cyclone has left in its wake. A state of disaster has been declared, and it is feared there will have been a number of deaths.

As well as helping to distribute aid locally, the Hercules will fly a reconnaissance mission over the outer northern islands worst hit by the storm. Communications to those remote islands are still down.


Where will Tropical Cyclone Ului go?

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WeatherWatch.co.nz continues to closely monitor severe tropical cyclone Ului in the Coral Sea.

Yesterday Ului became stationery moving at just 5km/h.  The storm is still predicted to strengthen further and may become a category 5 storm as it heads further out into the Coral Sea.

The computer models are having a tough time agreeing on where Ului will track however yesterday most agreed that it will strengthen further then head towards the Queensland coast, coming onshore roughly halfway between Cairns and Brisbane.


Category 4 Tomas starting to move away from Fiji

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UPDATED
Severe tropical cyclone Tomas is tonight starting to move away from the two main Fijian islands.  This afternoon Tomas made a direct hit over the Southern Lau Group of islands, south east of Vanua Levu Island.  The area is made up of dozens of large volcanic islands home to about 11,000 people.

Tomas remained a Category 4 cyclone with sustained winds of 175km/h however is expected to ease to 150km/h during Wednesday.  Tonight gusts are still estimated to be reaching up to 250km/h.


TC Tomas at its closest to Fiji; TC Ului continues to intensify

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11:30pm Mon: Severe Tropical Cyclone Tomas is now at its closest point to Vanua Levu, with the centre of the eye roughly 60kms offshore to the east.

WeatherWatch.co.nz says it will cause major damage to homes and infrastructure along the eastern coastline until dawn NZT and continue to cause major damage to the islands dotted south east of the mainland until at least Tuesday afternoon NZT.


IMAGE: Twin severe cyclones north of New Zealand

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Two major tropical cyclones are continuing to intensify north of New Zealand today.

Tropical Cyclone Tomas is expected to hit Fiji today and into Tuesday. Suva may be seriously affected. The huge storm is expected to reach Category 4 status with sustained winds at 200km/h and gusts to 230km/h.

Meanwhile Intense Tropical Cyclone Ului is now a Category 5 cyclone with sustained winds expected to reach an incredible 290km/h with gusts to 350km/h - three and a half times our road speed limit.