NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Hola drenching Vanuatu, New Caledonia

Cyclone Hola was dropping heavy rains on Vanuatu and New Caledonia when the Global Rainfall Measurement objective or GPM core satellite passed overhead.

There are local cautions for Vanuatu and New Caledonia. In Vanuatu a wind caution is in force for Tafea and Shefa provinces. In New Caledonia, the area is on pre-alert, with the exception of Ouvéa, Maré and Lifou, which are on hurricane alert #2.

The GPM core observatory satellite had a pretty good take a look at effective Cyclone Hola on March 8, 2018 at 3: 12 a.m. EST (0812 UTC). Hola lay northeast of New Caledonia with optimal continual winds of about 95 knots (~ 105 miles per hour). The rains rate was originated from GPM’s Microwave Imager (GMI) and Double Frequency Rainfall Radar (DPR) instruments. GPM’s GMI offered the very best protection of the hurricane. GMI information suggested that storms within Hola were dropping rain at a rate of higher than 49 mm (1.9 inches) per hour in the southeast quadrant of the hurricane. GPM’s DPR swath scanned a location west of the heaviest concentration of rains around the center of hurricane Hola. GPM’s radar (DPR Ku band) discovered that some convective storms in feeder bands north of the hurricane’s eye were producing rain at a rate of over 127 mm (5 inches) per hour.

GPM is a joint objective in between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Expedition Company, JAXA.

On March 9 at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) Cyclone Hola was focused near 19.6 degrees south latitude and 167.4 degrees east longitude, about 120 nautical miles northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu. Hola was transferring to the southeast at 10 knots (115 miles per hour/185 kph). Optimum sustained winds dropped to 75 knots (863 miles per hour/139 kph) making it a Classification 1 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.

The Joint Tropical Storm Caution Center (JTWC) anticipates the subtropical ridge to trigger Cyclone Hola to recurve towards the southeast preventing a direct effect with New Caledonia.

JWTC kept in mind that as Hola “continues to track southeastward it will come across undesirable vertical wind shear (approximately 90 knots) and cooler sea surface area temperature levels which will result in a decline in strength.” By March 11, Hola will start extratropical shift while approaching northeastern New Zealand.


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