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South Pacific: Bart becomes latest ever first named Cyclone

Ex-cyclone Bart was the latest ever cyclone to be named in the South Pacific, at least as far as record keeping is concerned.

The short-lived cyclone is brushing southern parts of the Cook Islands and lost its tropical cyclone status this morning.

Forecaster Bob McDavitt says Bart beat the previous record held by Tropical Cyclone Oma. Incredibly, Bart was officially named just 6 hours later than Oma was. (Oma was named at 18:00 UTC on Feb 20, 2001).

But Mr McDavitt says there is a disclaimer “[the 6 hour difference is] really too close to call as far as meteorology goes. And with a little hand-waving the start of the cyclone phase of either OMA or BART could be plus or minus 6 hours. So let’s just say it’s a late start to the cyclone season”. 

“Even so, we live in interesting times” says McDavitt “so far we have had 15 Tropical depressions this season (that’s more than normal), and only ONE has managed to became a cyclone”.

Bob McDavitt says the “late starting season†record is a concept of modern times, and really only has meaning since satellite imagery become commonplace in the 1970s.

– Last track map from Fiji Met



weather-nut on 23/02/2017 8:58am

Don’t mean to split hairs but, according to your accompanying graphic and other warnings put out Fiji Met (who are responsible for the naming TC’s in that region), TC Bart was named at 12:00 UTC on Feb 21, 2017, which is 18 hours after TC Oma was named at 18:00 UTC on Feb 20, 2001.

WW Forecast Team on 23/02/2017 8:10pm

This was confirmed by both Bob McDavitt and MetService New Zealand so if you’re right a lot of other people are wrong.  Fiji Met often have graphics that are delayed/out of date – we don’t rely on them, rather the international bodies like NASA etc.

weather-nut on 23/02/2017 11:37pm

I find it had to believe that MetService confirmed this after they mistakingly tweeted that TC Bart was named at 7am on Feb 22 NZDT (18:00, Feb 21 UTC), 6 hours after Fiji Met’s first mention of Bart becoming a TC, although they did also say that TC Bart was named ‘nearly one day after TC Oma’.

The NASA reference Bob McDavitt quoted included figures from America’s JTWC, who use 1-minute average wind speeds, which are generally about 114% higher than the WMO recommended 10-minute average winds that most other agencies around world use, including Fiji Met, Australia’s BoM and Japan’s JMA. That’s why JTWC often give these systems TC status, when it doesn’t apply to the scales used by other world agencies.

As for Fiji Met ‘often having graphics that are delayed/out of date’, they are updated every 6 hours, whereas JTWC’s graphics for this part of the world are usually only updated every 12 hours.

Anyway, the crux of your story appears to be when TC Bart was first named, compared to when TC Oma was first named. Some meteorologists have even suggested that TC Oma in 2001 should possibly have been retrospectively named 6 hours earlier, which would widen the gap even further.

WW Forecast Team on 24/02/2017 1:29am

Hi there. You’re attacking our credibility so here is the tweet from MetService which has not been removed by them. This is MetService not only confirming it but they went on to tweet this exact message “*Latest 1st TC of the South Pacific Cyclone Season” on Feb 22.

You’re entitled to your opinions, which are usually against what we do. 

Have a nice weekend.



weather-nut on 24/02/2017 4:09am

I fail to see how this is an attack your credibility?

I also never said that this isn’t the latest ever start to South Pacific TC Season. In fact it’s the latest start to both South Pacific and the Coral Sea TC Season.

Initially I simply pointed out that you (and with greatest respect to Bob McDavitt) say that TC Bart beat the old record by 6 hours, whereas Fiji Met (who actually named both TC’s) say it was beaten by 18 hours.

And if you do the maths, the above MetService tweet, far from confirming what you’ve said, actually suggests that TC Bart beat the old record by 24 hours.

So what’s a person meant to believe?

Likewise, have a great weekend, although mine would be better if I could figure out how do paragraph spacing on here… 🙂

WW Forecast Team on 24/02/2017 8:51pm

Yes but our story specificly highlights that 6 hour variance and the fact that this is down to people measuring. The story was just an interest piece that went out of its way to say there is plenty of grey area here.  As for who to believe? WW has been saying for over a decade that the facts/data in our part of the world are spotty/patchy at best. Made worse by our WMO agent (MetService) being fiercly commercial with data which even the WMO has said goes in the wrong direction at better informing people of things.  We are very grateful the NZ Government is currently in the middle of an official investigation about NIWA and MetService’s heavy commercial pollution of tax funded data.

As for paragraph spacing – if you hit Enter/Return once or twice it should set it up for you?! 🙂


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