Cyclone Ruby has made landfall on the western side of the French island territory and is now tracking down the middle of the island towards the capital Noumea.
The storm is moving quite fast, with the centre tracking at about 30km/h to the south east. The faster the storm moves the lower the rainfall totals are (estimates of up to 200mm in some parts of New Caledonia are forecast today). Wind speeds may still climb further, although it’s not expected to strengthen very much – mostly due to low pressure zones in the NZ are now taking some of Ruby’s energy.
However, sustained winds with Ruby are estimated to be at 110km/h an hour right now, making it a ‘strong’ Category 2 Cyclone…it’s just 8km/h away from reaching Category 3 power. The focus on if it’s Cat 2 or Cat 3 is fairly insignificant at this point, as the storm has arrived and it will either retain current power or only get a little more powerful.
Ruby will likely be clearing from New Caledonia by tonight, followed by high humidity and calmer conditions.
Ruby’s path to NZ is complicated – it’s likely to get swallowed up by a ‘mega’ low in the NZ area which will contribute to more wind and rain in the NZ area, but not as a direct single storm moving in. In fact, the centre of Ruby’s remnants may well miss NZ out to the east.
Our latest weather video here explains the current set up for both New Caledonia and New Zealand.