A tropical cyclone has been named by the Fiji Met Service today. Cyclone VICKY is the latest South Pacific storm which is forecast to possibly Category 2 as it tracks behind another tropical depression that hit the Cook Islands this week. That other depression has removed energy that Vicky could have used to power up even more.
Vicky is currently Category 1 and could strengthen to 2 before midnight tonight according to the Fiji Met Service but other forecasters and modelling doesn’t agree entirely with the potential strength of the storm.
Tracking shows the storm moving near or even over the small island nation of Niue (population around 1600 to 2000) on Saturday.
However WeatherWatch.co.nz says conditions aren’t perfect for the storm to rapidly deepen at this stage. Head forecaster Philip Duncan says it may be more of a rainmaker than anything else. “Niue doesn’t really have an overly stormy weekend, but plenty of rain and thunderstorms about and more dangerous seas. The low will generate bigger waves and the low pressure helps lift sea levels, but it’s not a high level storm at this stage”.
“It’s looking slow moving and disorganised. That means rain will likely be the main focus and hopefully won’t cause too many serious issues. In fact the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is forecasting it will weaken, not strengthen, over the next 48 hours and many air pressure charts back that up”.
However the storm is generating 4.5 metre waves and for low lying Niue that could cause coastal flooding or inundation should the storm actually strengthen to Category 2. It’s one to monitor over the weekend.
It poses no threat to NZ and will likely lie east of the North Island by next Wednesday – and it may help enhance an easterly flow over northern NZ and perhaps encourage a few more showers our way.
ABOVE: FIJI MET – Shows the storm strengthening
BELOW: JTWC – Shower the storm weakening slightly. Both show it tracking in a similar area.