By MetService Communications Meteorologist Lisa Murray

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

Historical track (white) and forecast track (red) of TC Winston up to midnight on Wednesday.  Image created by MetService on WeatherScape.

History

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston was named by RSMC Nadi at 1pm on February 11th, located to the east of Vanuatu.  Since then, TC Winston has tracked southeast before turn northeast, which is the current direction of movement.

Today

TC Winston was located southeast of Fiji’s capital, west of Ono-l-Lau and northwest of Nuku’alofa this morning (7am Tuesday 16th February). The central pressure of the cyclone was estimated to be 987 hPa, making it a Category 2 cyclone, and it was moving to the northeast at about 26 km/h.  Winds close to the centre of the cyclone were estimated to be around 93 km/h.

Infrared satellite image (indicating cloud top temperatures) showing the location of TC Winston at 9.20am Tuesday 16th February 2016.

Forecast track for TC Winston from RSMC Nadi’s (Fiji Meteorological Service).

Future track

Over the next 24 hours TC Winston is expected to remain a category 2 tropical cyclone, moving northeast. Looking out to 48 hours TC Winston is expected to tend more westerly in its track towards Fiji.

Range of possible future tracks for TC Winston based on ECMWF data.  Image from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Impact on NZ

There are currently no direct impacts expected for New Zealand this week as TC Winston moves northeast and then tends westward. After this there is chance that the track will move southerly, but this is just one of many tracks that the global weather models are producing. MetService meteorologists are monitoring this tropical cyclone closely and provide tropical updates daily via the Tropical Cyclone Activity page on metservice.com where you can also see hourly satellite imagery.

With tropical cyclones there is always some uncertainly associated with the tracks they will take, so we advise people in New Zealand and planning travel to the Pacific to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and any severe weather warnings at http://metservice.com/warnings/severe-weather-warnings. We will post further updates on TC Winston in the coming days, and as always, you can keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings at metservice.com.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Tropical Cyclone Programme has been established to minimise the loss of life and damage caused by tropical cyclones. MetService is the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre (TCWC) for the WMO, therefore any advisories, bulletins and warnings about tropical cyclones that could affect New Zealand originate from MetService.  Any significant weather effects on New Zealand caused by tropical cyclone activity are covered by Severe Weather Watches and Warnings