By MetService Meteorologist Ciaran Doolin

Please note: all times listed below are New Zealand local time

History

Tropical Cyclone Victor (TC Victor) was named by RSMC Nadi on January 15th, located near the Northern Cook Islands.  Since then, the cyclone has tracked between Niue and the Southern Cook Islands, before turning west and heading past Tonga.

TC Victor was located between Niue and Tonga at 1pm yesterday (Friday 22nd January). The central pressure of the cyclone was estimated to be 980hPa, making it a Category 2 cyclone, and it was moving to the west-southwest at about 17 km/h.  Winds close to the centre of the cyclone were estimated to be around 93 km/h.

Historical track of TC Victor to 1 am Saturday 23 January 2016. Image via NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

Historical track of TC Victor  to 1 am Saturday, 23rd  January 2016.  Image via NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Today

At 1 am this morning (Saturday 23rd January) TC Victor was reclassified by RSMC Nadi as a Tropical Low. It was estimated to have a central pressure of 998 hPa and was located about 120 km south of Tonga, moving west-southwest at 17 km/h.

20 pm, Saturday 23rd January, 2016.

Satellite image showing the location of Cyclone Victor at 12:20 pm, Saturday 23rd January 2016.

Future track

Now a Tropical Low, Cyclone Victor is expected to move initially southwest and then turn more southwards over the next 12 hours.

Forecast track of Cyclone Victor produced by RSMC Nadi in Fiji.

Forecast track of Cyclone Victor produced by RSMC Nadi in Fiji.

On Sunday Cyclone Victor is expected to move out of the Tropics and towards cooler waters to the north of New Zealand. It is expected to undergo a transition into a mid-latitude low near the Kermadec Islands, which means the winds around the low could re-intensify in some sectors. 

The low will pass very close to Raoul Island during Monday. Based on the currently available information, there is a good probability that the low will pass within about 50-125 km east of the Island Monday morning.  Southeasterly winds are likely to rise to gale and heavy rain is expected during Monday.

Possible future tracks for Cyclone Victor based on UKMO data. Image via NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Possible future tracks near Raoul Island for Cyclone Victor based on UKMO data.  Original image from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Impact on NZ

MetService meteorologists are monitoring Cyclone Victor closely and will provide updates while the cyclone is in the Tropics via the Tropical Cyclone Activity page on metservice.com where you can also see hourly satellite imagery.

After Cyclone Victor has undergone its transformation into a mid-latitude low near the Kermadec’s, it is expected to continue to track south and pass offshore to the northeast of the North Island.  Currently the most likely effect will be strong winds, rain with some heavy falls and large swells for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, but there is still some uncertainly in the track, so we advise people in northern areas of New Zealand to keep up to date with the latest forecasts for their area and severe weather warnings at http://metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings

Possible future tracks for Cyclone Victor based on UKMO data. Image via NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Possible future tracks for Cyclone Victor based on UKMO data.  Original image from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

We’ll post further updates on Cyclone Victor in the coming days on Facebook and Twitter, and as always, you can keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings at metservice.com.