Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Zealand storms fizzle

Apparently the merger of Tropical Cyclone Zelia with the remnants of TC Vania was enough to tear apart the stronger storm. TC Zelia had been weakening as it approached New Zealand and has all but dissipated. The primary concern now is heavy rain.

Storms fizzle but Hawke's Bay in for some damp weather (Hawke's Bay Today)
Hawke's Bay has missed the worst of predicted high winds and heavy rains being driven by two tropical lows moving on to the country but is still likely to get a fair soaking over the next week.

The main meteorological culprit is the weakening, and slightly unpredictable, tropical Cyclone Zelia.

It was moving across the country in the company of a second weakening cyclone, Vania.

"The path and depth of this second low is still somewhat uncertain," MetService forecaster Paul Mallinson said.

"But both these lows are forecast to bring very humid conditions."

The conditions were forecast to do their worst through until the end of today but mainly in northern and central areas. "This is a fast-moving and rather small system. While it will no longer be a tropical cyclone when it reaches us it may still pack a windy punch," MetService's Bob McDavitt said.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tropical Cyclone Zelia weakening as it heads to NZ

Two tropical weather systems are heading towards New Zealand. Tropical Cyclone Vania has broken apart after lashing Vanuatu. The remnants of this storm will bring heavy rain to the Southern Island of New Zealand. Tropical Cyclone Zelia will retain a Category 1 status as it approaches land bringing sustained winds of 65 km/hr with gusts as high as 120 km/hr as it approaches and potentially crosses the northern island.

Cyclone could bring 120km/h gusts to NZ (NZ Herald)
A tropical cyclone could bring wind gusts of up to 120km/hr to New Zealand tomorrow, new predictions show.

Latest updates from the Fiji Metereological Service show Tropical Cyclone Zelia retaining Category 1 cyclone status through Tuesday. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says that means it could bring sustained winds of 65km/hr and gusts of 120km/hr as it nears the upper North Island.

But the fact the strongest winds are near the centre of the cyclone may save the country from the worst of the storm, he says.

"The severe gales might only extend one or two hundred kilometres from the centre, so if the storm remains more than that distance from land before being downgraded you can see how many regions will miss the damaging winds altogether".
The biggest threat from these storms appears to be heavy rain. TC Zelia is expected to diminish in strength as it approaches the island nation by Tuesday. Even as the wind speeds decrease, the rainfall will still be heavy.

Cyclone still tracking towards New Zealand (
Cyclone Vania, which petered out on the weekend, is now an ex-tropical low and is expected to move across the northern South Island tomorrow.

Zelia was south of New Caledonia at 11am and accelerating.

"Although the exact track is not certain it will probably pass west of Northland and Auckland tomorrow afternoon and evening, move over the southern or central North Island on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, and pass west of Chatham Islands late on Wednesday," the warning says.

"It will not be a tropical cyclone by the time it reaches New Zealand but these lows are forecast to bring very humid conditions and a period of heavy rain and north to northwest gales..."

The heaviest rain falls of 200 to 250mm are expected near the ranges of Westland, Buller and Nelson north of about Franz Josef Glacier.

The strongest winds will depend mainly on the track of the second low.

"At this stage they are likely to be from Taranaki and Taumarunui to Taihape and inland Wanganui with gusts around 130 km/h in exposed places on Tuesday night."

Severe gales could also hit exposed North Island areas.

Coastal gale warnings have been posted for the sea areas Abel, Brett, Chatham Islands, Colville, Conway, Cook, Grey, Kaipara, Plenty, Portland, Puysegur, Raglan and Stephens.

The gale warning for Manukau and Waitemata harbours and the Hauraki Gulf warns of northeast rising to 25 knots, gusting to 35 knots Tuesday morning and 35 knots gusting 45 knots tomorrow night.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

South Pacific comes alive

The south Pacific has been quite active lately with tropical systems. A tropical system that never quite gained enough strenth to be a tropical storm dumped enough water on Queensland, Australia last week to cause very severe flooding. Another tropical storm is veering away from the northwestern coast while two additional storms are converging towards New Zealand.

Trio of Tropical Systems Churning near Australia (AccuWeather)

Three tropical systems are currently churning near Australia. None of the named storms will slam flood-ravaged Australia, but two are threatening nearby islands.

Tropical Cyclone Vania already unleashed its fury on the Vanuatu Island group and neighboring New Caledonia. Both are located east of Australia.

Disruptive wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) is now causing Vania to rapidly weaken south of New Caledonia.

The opposite is taking place with Tropical Cyclone Zelia, which is churning in the Coral Sea southeast of Papua, New Guinea.

Zelia should continue to strengthen into this weekend as it tracks southeastward through the Coral Sea, then the southern Pacific Ocean. By Sunday morning EST, the cyclone's intensity may be equal to that of a Category 2 hurricane.

Sunday is also when Zelia will come dangerously close to New Caledonia. At this time, the worst of the cyclone should remain offshore. Its outer bands of rain squalls and tropical storm-force winds could still graze the island.
It appears that New Zealand could be in for some heavy weather as a result of the strengthening Zelia as well as the moisture laden remnants of Vania. Zelia is strengthening as it moves towards the south southeast directly towards New Zealand. I sus pect that Vania will dissipate soon but the remnants of Vanie will become incorporated into Zelia's

Stormy weather in store for NZ (New Zealand Herald)

Former tropical cyclone Vania has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but is moving south "packed with moisture", said WeatherWatch analyst Philip Duncan.

"The low is going to pull tropical moisture down to New Zealand early next week," he said.

And MetService weather spokesman Bob McDavitt, said that if a tropical cyclone encounters an injection of cold air as it approaches New Zealand, then it may "feed" on the difference in density so that the cold air turns the tropical moisture to rain, and that rain-making process lowers the pressure, so that the system becomes "extra windy".

But Mr Duncan said forecasters were also closely watching the newly-developed tropical cyclone Zelia, classified as a Category 1 cyclone with winds averaging 65km/h and winds gusting up to 120km/h.
Zelia is currently heading directly for Wellington and the cook Strait.


It's been a long time since I have been able to add my commentary and analysis to this blog. At this point I assume that the only people looking at this blog are the few loyal readers who stick by me throughout. The number of hits I receive daily typically drops when the Atlantic is not active but usually we see quite a few hits from Pacific island countries, Australia and the far east during the November through April months. As it is I am now down to a steady 20 or so visitors each day and I thank you all very much.

As you know I moved from southeast Texas to North Georgia a few years ago for a new job offer. My position has been very challenging and rewarding and includes a fair amount of travel. In 2010 I had the opportunity to visit Asia 5 times - twice to Japan and all five times to areas in China. What an exciting and interesting experience. Unfortunately, the available time I have to work on this blog has diminished.

I think - I hope I am right - that quite a few people find my posts valuable. I assume this is the case since I see a huge (for me) uptick in readership when a storm approaches land. Most of my readers are referred by Google or some other search engine so I know that Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker is receiving exposure.

So I have a request to those who are interested and willing:

I would like to expand this blog to guest authors.
Anyone who is interested in writing posts regarding tropical storms, severe weather occurrances, balanced climate change articles or other weather and climate issues are welcome. All I ask is that anything that is posted be backed up with articles or data that supports the author's position or can be refuted with logical articles.

I would especially appreciate someone posting who is located on the Gulf Coast - so we get live information from our original home base and also someone in China or the Philippines to provide real information from those areas.

Anyone interested, please send me a note at Please understand that this is a volunteer position. Any income received from this blog could be shared but we are talking pennies or a few bucks at most.

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