The week of Winston! We’ve had a number of big weather stories in the past 7 days, but none of them come close to the dominating feature of perhaps all news around the country – Cyclone Winston.
The cyclone was rated as a category 5 before it hit Fiji, making landfall in northern Viti Levu at around 7pm Fiji time.
It remained over land for about an hour before moving back out to sea again.
The eye of the storm basically skimmed the north of the main island.
Initial reports feared up to 10 people were killed, but it quickly became clear that the scale of the damage was much worse than expected.
The Fijian Government confirmed the death toll at 42 on Friday, saying it feared the number would rise further as relief teams reach isolated communities over the weekend.
The acting head of the Red Cross’s Pacific office, Ahmad Sami, said more fatalities were coming to light as government and aid agencies sent back information from remote communities.
â€” ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) February 24, 2016
â€” NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAAClimate) February 26, 2016
â€” nzherald (@nzherald) February 26, 2016
We then turned our attention back to this part of the world – and the possibility that Winston could make landfall here – or in Australa – as a weak category one cyclone, reforming as it moved closer to Australia.
The system was about 1,000 kilometres east of Brisbane on Friday and moving west, tracking before it heads north-west into the Coral Sea.
Check out your weekend forecast – including what Winston is doing – below in our weekend weather video.
In non-cyclone related news, ‘hairy panic’ is paralysing parts of an Australian town â€” but it’s not quite the existential nightmare it sounds, just a fast-growing tumbleweed.
Homes in Wangaratta are being inundated with the evocatively named plant pest, with some residents having to spend hours digging out their driveways.
Think it’s been hotter than usual this month? You’re right – and forecasters say the scorching days and cloying mugginess could linger until at least mid-March.
The abnormally hot spell is on track to smash February records in some main centres but weather analysts are divided about what’s causing it – check out their opinions, here.
And finally – after months of hard work behind the scenes, WeatherWatch.co.nz unveiled our new app this week – in partnership with global weather giant Weather.com/Wunderground.
This new deal means that WeatherWatch.co.nz’s new weather app has over 1000 forecast locations in New Zealand – compared to just 100 from both NZ Government forecasters combined.
Check out the new features, and find out how to get it on your phone, here.
– Drew Chappell, WeatherWatch.co.nz
– Photo: BoM