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Hamish no longer a cyclone

Australian Region image

Hamish came to a grinding halt yesterday and has now done a U turn and been downgraded to a tropical depression.  Image / BOM


  • Ex-tropical Cyclone Hamish
  • Now travelling North at 20km/h (was travelling 2km/h east yesterday)
  • Top wind gusts 100km/h
  • Top sustained winds 75km/h
  • Central air pressure 998hPa 

Tropical Cyclone Hamish is no longer.  The storm dramaticaly was torn apart yesterday but high level winds and a high in the south.

Hamish is back tracking on his earlier path, taking him back to where he was on Sunday now as a tropical depression.

As predicted by Hamish was downgraded to a Category 1 cyclone overnight but became a tropical depression several hours earlier than expected.

This is the final update on Hamish.

Initial story

There is some positive news.  The tropical cyclone is running parallel to the coastline not directly towards it – however it will move very close to the town of Bundaberg and could make landfall as a strong Category 4 cyclone on Tuesday morning.

Due to its location (currently clearly seen on our satellite map to the right) it would normally have direct access to New Zealand, especially considering the weather patterns over February which have seen 3 lows form north of New Zealand bringing heavy rain and winds, however Kiwis may be spared this particular storm.

A large high, currently one and half times the width of Australia, is blocking the cyclone’s path from arriving here.

This high will stall the storm off Australia’s coast increasing the chances of flooding in Queensland.  A low risk does remain for New Zealand perhaps next week.  With so much moisture and energy in the Coral Sea a low could track down our way following next weekend however it’s still too far out.  At this stage the tropical storm poses no threat to New Zealand.   We’ll keep you posted if things change.


sarah on 9/03/2009 11:44pm

If the high over nz was to get pushed away from the low coming up from the south would that give the cyclone a chance to come over nz?? Does that make any sense??

WW Forecast Team on 10/03/2009 12:27am

To answer your question simply – yes.  Although the low in the south really has nothing to do with it. 

The computer models from this Sunday through to mid next week show that potentially the high may move to the east of NZ, or weaken, allowing Hamish (or what’s left of Hamish) to come down our way or at least into the Tasman Sea. 

Hamish may only be a depression by then but that’s still something to watch as there’s a lot of moisture with this system.  No need to be alarmed at the moment though…still a long way off and nothing concrete in any of the models yet.


Philip Duncan

Andrew on 9/03/2009 7:20am

Hi Philip
If a cat 4-5 cyclone was to hit NZ or any cat cyclone for that matter. With NZ being so small like 300km(guessing Raglan to Waihi beach) coast to coast it wouldn’t have a chance to down grade itself would it. It would just carry on over the top of us?? Cheers

WW Forecast Team on 9/03/2009 7:47am

It really depends on the angle its coming in from.  Usually you’re right, the upper North Island is very narrow.  However if there was an "eye" and that eye moved down Northland it would most likely weaken.  Florida weakens hurricanes significantly.  But usually storms coming from the tropics slide down our coastlines…we’re so narrow north to south that it’s actually quite hard to get a low to perfectly make landfall when coming from the north or south.  They usually turn and cross west to east.

The South Island usually does a good job at weakening a low as it passes over.

The waters would also have to be exceptionally warm to continue to fuel a system as strong as Hamish down our way, but a cat 4 level storm isn’t impossible.   In fact the storm that sunk the Wahine created high end cat 4 winds around Wellington – a gust of 276km/h.  4km/h more reaches the Cat5 category according to the BoM.


Douglas on 8/03/2009 6:46am

Category 5 on which scale?

Australian scale Category 5 is weaker than American scale Cat 5.

WW Forecast Team on 8/03/2009 9:44am

Hi Douglas,

To be honest with you I don’t have a huge depth of knowledge on the category system Australia uses.  I actually prefer the Saffir-Simpson scale as it seems to take more things into account – maximum average wind speed, air pressure and wave height.  From what I can tell the Bureau of Meteorology measure a cyclones strength by its maximum wind gust.  Which to me seems a little off as high sustained wind speeds are usually more damaging that high wind gusts.



Links you might find helpful:


Saffir Simpsin:

Speed calculator:


SW on 7/03/2009 11:10pm

Hope it pushes the high far enough south to get rid of these winds today.Lots of whitecaps today.

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