TD05F To Be A Strong Cat 1 Or Cat 2 Tropical Cyclone As It Moves Across Fiji

All people in the northern and western division should remain on high alert.
28 Jan 2021 09:27
TD05F To Be A Strong Cat 1 Or Cat 2 Tropical Cyclone As It Moves Across Fiji

Weather Situation – A slightly confusing adjustment of nomenclature last evening has seen a new tropical disturbance number assigned to a system that has evolved out of TD04F which still exists to the distant west over the Coral Sea close to New Caledonia.

Tropical Depression TD05F is presently about 900km west-northwest of Nadi over waters just to the northeast of Port Vila.

A third system, TD06F is located over southern Lau waters and is moving southeast away from Fiji Passing south of Tongatapu tomorrow around midday, then out into open ocean waters.

TD05F is the system of most concern to Fiji. Slow intensification is expected as it tracks east-notheast at first, the southeast from tonight, on a path taking it directly toward the northern Yasawas then down over Viti Levu.

It seems very likely that TD05F will make landfall over Fiji during the coming weekend. Confidence in the forecast track and the speed of movement of TD05F over the next 24 to 48 hours is low and as a result predictions of where and when this system does make landfall ought to be considered as “subject to change”.

All people in the northern and western division should remain on high alert. This said, it is likely that TD05F will be a strong category 1 or a category 2 tropical cyclone as it moves across Fiji. The system will be intensifying as it approaches Fiji.

For Today – Generally cloudy across the country today with passing showers over all parts of the country. Scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms again today, with some locally heavy falls expected to bring further flash flooding of low lying areas around the larger islands. Moderate south to southeast winds on coastal waters tending northeast to northerly and freshening about Lau waters.

Low seas rising moderate to rough over Lau waters.

Outlook for the next three days – Based on the computer predictions issued overnight the centre of TD05F is forecast to pass over Yasawa i Ra island around 8pm Saturday night as a strong Cat1 or Cat2 tropical cyclone.

From there it will continue southeast across Bligh waters before making landfall near Tavua about 2am Sunday morning most likely as a Cat2 tropical cyclone.

The system will weaken a little as it passes across the higher elevations of Viti Levu before exiting the southern side of Viti Levu somewhere between Pacific Harbour and KoroLevu around 8am Sunday then passing the western tip of Kadavu about 2pm on Sunday as a Cat1 system. The impacts of TC05F can be separated into two discrete elements – damaging winds and prolonged heavy rain.

Winds will be strongest about the eastern side of the expected tropical cyclone.

The Yasawas, all of Vanua Levu, The eastern half of Viti Levu, Taveuni, Lomaiviti, the Lau group can expect damaging gale force winds starting from around midday over the Yasawas and from mid afternoon around northern Viti Levu, Vanua Levu Taveuni, northern Lau and Lomaiviti, before spreading south overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning.

Expect sustained damaging gale to storm force winds from the north-northwest averaging 75 to 85 kph with gusts to 120 kph at times. Winds over the western division will be less intense, with east to southeast winds shifting southeast to southerly as the cyclone centre passes over Viti Levu.

Wind strength will be below gale force, averaging 35 to 45 kph gusting 55-60 kph as the centre of the cyclone passes over the interior of Viti Levu to the east.

The main impacts of TD05F will be rain. The system is going to move relatively slowly, and rainbands will start to affect Fiji from Friday evening, well before the centre gets close to Fiji, and continue into Monday 1st Feb as the system moves away.

Periods of frequent heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms will affect all parts of the country, but more so the central, eastern and northern divisions.

Parts of the western division from Ba to Rakiraki will experience heavy rain also. After recent rain the soil is already close to saturation.

There is not much scope for the soil to take up rainfall before it all becomes run-off, with smaller rivers and streams quickly filling and the larger rivers will very likely exceed flood levees as water spills over into low lying urban areas, in particular Nausori, Navua, Korolevu, Rakiraki, Tavua and Ba on Viti Levu, and around Labasa, Dreketi and Nabouwalu in Vanua Levu.

Expect rising river levels in the Nadi River catchment and the Sigatoka river catchment areas also.

Stay alert to weather developments by following your daily updates and check the Nadraki app for more information.

The next scheduled update will be at 4pm this afternoon.


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