Updated 4:17pm — Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston is continuing to track westwards away from Fiji at a steady speed – and it’s slowy, very slowly, weakening.
The air pressure has risen at the centre from 915hPa earlier this morning, to 930hPa this afternoon. Winston is still tracking West at 24km/h. While it appears to be tracking directly towards Vanuatu, reliable modelling shows Winston will soon start to track southwards, slowly. This should start to happen overnight or on Monday.
Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama confirms Cyclone Winston has claimed 5 lives in Fiji, according to a tweet from @JacqueeSpeight from Fiji Broadcasting Corporation around 4pm NZT.
Winston remains Category 5 but will likely switch down to a strong Category 4 storm overnight or on Monday – especially if it continues to weaken at this rate.
But Winston is back over warm waters and Winston won’t be weakening back to a small storm anytime yet – but this coming week Winston is likely to track further south and weaken significantly as it does so.
Today the storm is still creating dangerous seas – with peak waves at 12 metres according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
Swell map for Monday PM – the purple area in the middle shows swells of 8 to 12 metres. / MetOcean
In Fiji the rain radars are all back online and the outer bands of the departing cyclone can still be clearly seen moving across the main island in particular. Heavy downpours, strong winds and thunderstorms are all expected today, hampering clean up efforts.
The eye of Winston can no longer be seen as the storm tracks off the western side of the map / Fiji Met / 3pm hour.
As for New Zealand – WeatherWatch.co.nz says there is still considerable uncertainty about what will happen to the remnants of Cyclone Winston later this coming week. “Just like last week our confidence levels remain about moderate that Winston will have some impact on the upper North Island. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and have a more detailed update on Monday. Today the focus should still be on Fiji and the current location of Winston” says head weather analyst Philip Duncan.
– Fiji Met
– Still uncertainty from Wednesday onwards about Winston’s future track. This is the ‘cone of uncertainty’ from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
Current wind map (4pm NZT) – Earth
– Monday PM’s air pressure map shows Winston still a severe storm halfway between Vanuatu and Fiji…where it was over a week ago. / Image via ECMWF
– Rain map for Monday PM / MetOcean
– WeatherWatch.co.nz (our next update on Winston will be on Monday AM)
on 21/02/2016 8:02am
The way it is set up it seems much more likely that he will track S or even SE & then track west to the north Tasman.
It will be interesting as he has kept the computers guessing for a couple of weeks.
Your coverage of this has been outstanding guys. Keep up the good work.
on 21/02/2016 3:40am
No need to judge wait to see what Winston will do.
Hed is Chicken when it comes to the (high) pressure so he will just skirt to the South East over the coming week and have no effect on NZ just as was the case earlier this week when dire predictions were handed out over his direct effect on NZ – no effect was the case.