Where to for Tropical Cyclone Oma? Brisbane, you should beware.
Cyclone Oma has already caused extensive damage to the Solomon Islands and officials are concerned for food security and health in some southern provinces. While it was later downgraded to a tropical depression, on Tuesday it is expected to become a cyclone again, Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes reports. And New Zealand and Australia could be in its path of destruction.
The Herald reported on Tuesday that forecasters hope to have a better understanding today about whether Tropical Cyclone Oma will crash into New Zealand or Australia later this week.
The concern is whether it will hit New Zealand or will it bypass the country and wreak havoc on Australia instead.
The cyclone started near Solomon Islands two weeks ago, bringing heavy rain and rough seas.
At 4am local time on Tuesday, New Caledonia’s met service maintained cyclone alert level two for the towns of Belep, Hienghène, Kaala-Gomen, Koumac, Ouégoa, Pouébo and Poum. The rest of the country is in a pre-alert phase.
The depression is generating 100 km/hr winds with gusts of 130 km/hr near its center.
Weatherwatch on Tuesday said it still remained unclear if the cyclone would directly hit New Zealand but rain was on its way regardless.
The world’s two most trusted weather services when it came to predicting cycloes, Global Forecast System and ECMWF, still disagreed on whether it would track towards New Zealand this weekend or do a u-turn back into the tropics, Weatherwatch says.
“It could either go west towards Australia or it could come east towards New Zealand.
“Some solutions have it moving towards New Zealand and recurving towards the north,” Meteorologist William Nepe told the Herald.
“The worst-case scenarios are quite devastating, some of the model winds had 80-knot winds (158km/h) near the surface and 110 knots (203km/h) at several thousand feet. It is quite alarming in the worst case scenario,” he added.
In the latest developments – as of Friday morning – Cyclone Oma is circling about 820km north-east of Brisbane. It’s been downgraded to Category 1 and is not expected to make landfall.
Fierce winds, giant swells and king tides are lashing parts of the Queensland and NSW coast.
New Zealand’s MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for Northland, and watches for Auckland, Westland, Fiordland and for the Tararua Range.