UPDATE: Cyclone Rene is still on course to take a direct hit on Tonga
Tropical Cyclone Rene is continuing to move southwest on a track that will take it into central and southern Tonga.
The cyclone is gathering strength and it could bring heavy rain and thunderstorms, powerful sea surges, pounding waves and widespread coastal flooding to Tonga within 18-30 hours.
The storm is expected to strengthen further in the next 6 to 18 hours, with possible winds gusts in excess of 260kph.
on 14/02/2010 10:48pm
Do you know if there are any evacuation plans in place for Nukualofa?
on 15/02/2010 12:28am
We aren’t aware of any that are in place and to be honest time is now probably up for getting out. You would have to check with Tongan officials to be sure.
on 14/02/2010 9:14am
have you got any news or forecasts about the strength of the cyclone for the Tonga island and around Neiafu?
A friend of mine is there and it would be great to get any information you have.
on 14/02/2010 9:36am
Hi Friedi – I’d suggest the Fiji Meteorological website which you’ll find here: http://www.met.gov.fj/
Search for regional warnings.
Rene is expected to increase in strength tonight unforntunately.
on 14/02/2010 12:34pm
Thanks allot Philip.
At least now I know where to find proper information even though they aren’t good.
on 14/02/2010 6:13am
Hi, please send the cyclone our way!!! What is the chance it comes near the far north,could seriously do with rain here in Kaitaia.
on 14/02/2010 4:33am
We are watching this cyclone very closely… the storm IS tracking towards New Zealand but there are two things working towards saving NZ from severe weather.
1) The storm will weaken as it heads towards us with winds most likely dropping below cyclone status.
2) A large high in the Tasman should push it away to the east.
I believe the storm will brush East Cape but most likely only in the form of clouds and strong winds.
We’ll be publishing a story later tonight on the storm and its possible affect on New Zealand… we are monitoring it very closely but don’t believe it will directly hit us.
on 14/02/2010 8:26pm
Tropical Cyclone Rene is the second strongest Cyclone this year (Oli was stronger). It is expected to continue moving SW under the steering patterns that is currently turning the storm. Current windspeeds are 105 mph, 10 mph down on the last forecast with a central pressure unchanged at 940 mbs. This makes Rene a Category Two Hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale and a Category Three on the revised Tropical Cyclone scale.
Rene is weakening due to high vertical wind sheer and decreasing SST’s and should dissipate north of the Coromandel by Wednesday. Further weakening is inevitable as Rene moves into colder waters that are unable to support TC development. Increasing wind shear associated with an upper level low to the west of Rene will continue to erode thunderstorm development and impede any possible re-strengthening. Decreasing SST’s should mean that Rene will continue a pattern of gradual weakening.
At TAU 48 the cyclone will begin moving eastward as it is influenced by a mid-latitude trough. At this time I forecast a gradual change in shape as Rene begin extra-tropical transition. The transition will be complete by TAU 72 at which point Rene should be downgraded to a remnant low. However, strong winds and rain will most likely affect the Hawkes Bay even if Rene is downgraded due to the warm-cored nature of the storm.
on 14/02/2010 2:46am
Just looking at your map room, and it looks like the cyclone in the Cook Islands is heading down our way.
What are the chances of it coming to New Zealand (Coromandel)????
I Have had a few friends talking about this as well.
on 14/02/2010 1:18am
I know that long-range predictions are pretty dodgy for cyclone tracking, but the maps I’ve seen for Rene have it heading pretty much for the northern North Island, albeit dropping to tropical storm strength by then. Is there a chance we could be impacted by it at all?