TC Winston heads away from Fiji

February 21, 2016

Tropical Cyclone Winston brought severely damaging winds and heavy rain to Fiji yesterday and today, but is fortunately now heading away to the west. New Zealand will be fairly settled this week, but there will be some rain around for parts of the South Island.

Fiji was hammered by its first category five tropical cyclone, Winston, through Saturday and into Sunday. Mean wind speeds of 220km/h were recorded at one of the smaller eastern islands, Vanua Balavu on Saturday morning, before the weather station dropped out. As Winston tracked westwards over the southern coast of Vanua Levu, mean wind speeds of 194km/h were recorded, but gusts would have been much higher, estimated at over 300km/h. Winston then tracked over the northern edge of Viti Levu, past the island of Viwa, before heading away to the west.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has been fairly settled this weekend, and with a ridge moving over the North Island on Wednesday it should continue to stay dry there for most. There will be a fair amount of cloud around, but also plenty of sunshine in the afternoons, although summertime heating will also generate a few showers.

Monday will be a mostly dry day for the South Island, apart from some morning and evening drizzle in the east. Then a front begins to spread northwards over the South Island, before stalling over the lower South Island on Thursday and Friday and weakening. This front will bring various amounts of rain to southern and western areas, with the heavier falls forecast for Westland and Fiordland.

TC Winston could track towards New Zealand, with some computer models predicting the remnants of Winston to lie to the north of the country on Friday. “If TC Winston were to track closer to New Zealand next weekend, it would evolve into a deep mid-latitude low, possibly bringing high swells to the coast, heavy rain, and strong winds to exposed places,” said Meteorologist Emma Blades. “However, there is still a strong possibility that TC Winston will remain well to the north of New Zealand, causing little more than some good swell for surfers,” emphasised Ms Blades. MetService will be keeping a close watch on the situation and will provide the public with accurate information as the situation unfolds.

Official Severe Weather Watches and Warnings are reviewed and re-issued by MetService at least every twelve hours, and more often if necessary. To get the most up to date information on severe weather around the country, or any other forecasts, see metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, at MetService New Zealand on Facebook, @metservice and @MetServiceWARN on Twitter and at blog.metservice.com

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