Tropical Cyclones on the Horizon

Tropical Cyclones in the Southwest Pacific Outlook over Summer. Image: siwallpaperhd.com

With New Zealanders preparing their summer wardrobes, the North Island, particularly the east of Auckland, should keep a brolly handy as we may be facing a more humid and slightly wetter summer. A new outlook shows that New Zealand has a higher than normal chance of catching the “fall-out” of tropical cyclones rolling in from the Southwest Pacific.

In NIWA’s latest Tropical Cyclone seasonal forecast, meteorologists predicted between 8-10 named Tropical Cyclones forming across the Southwest Pacific region during the November 2016-April 2017 period. Tropical Cyclone season will hit its peak during the months from January to March. At least 5-6 of these predicted Tropical Cyclones are expected to be severe; Category 3 (out of 5 categories) or higher.

Tropical Cyclone activity is likely to be close to normal for many of the island nations this season. However, Southwest Pacific islands fringing the north Coral Sea, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and those nations situated adjacent to and east of the International Date Line including Tonga and Niue (and to the south of those nations) may experience elevated activity.

Typically, ex-tropical cyclones border on 550km of New Zealand around once every season and the risk for this coming Tropical Cyclone season is near normal. However, the probability of a cyclone tracking to the east of the North Island appears to be higher than normal. Significant rainfall, damaging winds, and amplified coastal conditions can occur leading up to and during interaction with these systems.

New Zealand can continue its preparations for a much-anticipated summer secured with the knowledge that it’s quite safe to continue with the family camping plans.

All Island communities are encouraged to remain vigilant and follow forecast information provided by their national meteorological service.

Watch: Climate scientist Nava Fedaeff explains the South Pacific tropical cyclone outlook for the November to April period.

Rebecca Scheib