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Tonga’s ash cloud now drifting over Queensland, Australia

The ash cloud from the huge eruption in Tonga on Saturday has reached Queensland overnight and this morning. Covering a large portion of the state the ash cloud is tracking from east to west and will cover much of the state for Monday.

As the cloud tracks westwards it will continue to slowly dissipate.

At this stage there is no risk for New Zealand but will continue to track it.

Weather in Queensland will likely be cloudy or partly sunny but gloomy today. It’s possible the ash cloud may affect air quality levels in some populated places for a time.

Last night the ash cloud was clearly visible over Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia and was forecast by to reach Australia by today.

Image at sunrise on Monday
Image as sunset on Sunday
Tracking from Sunday evening


Angela on 16/01/2022 8:51pm

Hi Weatherwatch, don’t know if I can post links here, but when the eruption happened, there was a large circle of something to the east of it. I’m in a chat group and we are all arguing what it was? The cyclone (too far north?) Anther low pressure? Can you tell us what it is? or do a story on it? Its quite interesting.

WW Forecast Team on 16/01/2022 9:19pm

Angela, very interesting! There was a significant rainmaker/low pressure zone to the east, but in that animation it looks more like a small area of high pressure developing. Possibly to do with the heat at that time of the day expanding outwards from a sunny circular area. But it’s unusual to see it side by side with the Tonga eruption. Will ask a few others and if anyone else knows more we will respond.
Phil D

5PM Update: We now have a really close relationship with management within MetService and we asked them to also help out with this. Here is their response in quote marks below (very interesting!).

“The concentric rings emanating from Tonga could be a mix of concussion and sound (there has also been suggestions of electromagnetic, possibly though not sure). There is a secondary, slower, ring to the east which is outflow from a sizeable Cb cluster.”. (MetService spokesperson).

In other words most likely a big thunderstorm/cloud build-up well to the east producing winds that pushed the clouds out in a circle at the same time, something that does happen in the tropics with all that heat. – WW

Angela on 16/01/2022 10:19pm

Thank you for the quick reply. This is the link to where I first saw it myself,,179.9,5z/date=2022-01-15,15:40,+13 and just go up and down on the time thing at the bottom.

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