Tropical Storm Vania moved through southeastern New Caledonia on January 14 and NASA’s TRMM satellite noticed heavy rainfall occurring. Residents of Norfolk Island are now expected to receive gusty winds and rainfall as Vania continues to move south in the South Pacific Ocean.
New Caledonia is located in the southwest Pacific and is made up of a main island called Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands and several smaller islands.
At 0422 UTC (3:22 p.m. Pacific/Noumea local time) on January 14, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, managed by NASA and the Japanese Space Agency flew over Tropical Storm Vania. At that time, the storm’s heaviest rainfall (falling at about 2 inches/50 mm per hour) was occurring in the western and southern quadrants of the storm and over the southeastern tip of New Caledonia near Noumea and Dumbea.
At 0900 UTC (4 a.m. EST/8 p.m. Pacific/Noumea local time) on January 14, Tropical Storm Vania’s center was 20 miles north-northeast of Noumea, New Caledonia near 22.3 south and 166.5 East. It was moving southwestward near 7 mph (11 km/hr) and had maximum sustained winds near 52 mph (83 km/hr). Vania was weakening as it crossed the southern tip of New Caledonia, and the heaviest rainfall was confined to the area south of its center.
By noon Eastern time on January 14 (4 a.m. Pacific/Noumea local time, Saturday, January 15), the bulk of the heaviest rainfall was off-shore and south of the island. At that time, the La Tontouta airport in Noumea was reporting only a light rain mist with sustained westerly winds near 17 mph (27 km/hr) with gusts to 30 mph (48 km/hr). The center of Vania was already headed south into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
However, residents of Norfolk Island may experience moderate to heavy rains, rough seas and gusty winds from Vania. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted today that Vania (or its remnants) is likely to pass just west of Norfolk Island late Sunday (local time). Norfolk Island may also be impacted by Cyclone Zelia on Monday. For the latest forecast for Norfolk Island, visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/norfolkisland.shtml/.
By Saturday (Eastern Time) cooler sea surface temperatures and increased vertical windshear may dissipate Tropical Storm Vania before it becomes extra-tropical.