Skies are generally overcast across the country as humid easterly winds prevail with humidity up although the cloud and moderate trade winds are keeping temperatures in check for now. Showers on and off through the day more frequent about the eastern and central divisions.

Patchy light rain at first over the west however one or two thunderstorms are a risk later in the day. Keep your umbrella handy.

The cloud structure around the circulation centre of Tropical Disturbance 04F (TD04F) remains poorly organized and for the moment the system is slow moving. Analysis of the latest observational data suggests the centre is located about 480km east-southeast of Honiara, or about 110km southeast of the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island (Solomon Islands).

Right now it is moving only slowly in a general easterly direction and will pass over the Torres and Banks groups later today.

This morning the forecasts are taking the centre close to or over western Viti Levu and the Mamanucas, although it may be that the track is further east with the centre passing between the two main islands then across Lomaiviti and southeast across Lau. Time will tell.

For now ALL COMMUNITIES WITHIN FIJI need to be starting preparations for a tropical cyclone to make landfall somewhere over our island archipelago.

The intensification of the system will be slow at first then rapidly strengthening from later tomorrow and early Wednesday as it moves east of Vanuatu and accelerates southeast towards Fiji. The broad scale environment is favourable for strengthening.

While the intensity of this system when as it passes over (or close to) Fiji remains uncertain, indications are that it will more likely than not be a severe tropical cyclone, and in all likelihood a significantly stronger system than TC Sarai.

Thus you should be preparing for a severe tropical cyclone. This is definitely a “shutters up” cyclone. Latest forecasts indicate closest approach to Fiji and/or landfall likely to be during the day on Friday.

As the circulation approaches from the northwest, Fiji will find itself in the southeast quadrant of the circulation prior to arrival – this is the zone of maximum convergence into the centre of the circulation, and hence where the greatest amount of precipitation will occur.

Those who have experienced cyclones in Fiji will be aware that systems approaching from the northwest are wet cyclones with heavy rain well in advance of the destructive winds. The forecasts indicate this will be the case with this system.

Rain is expected to slowly become fore widespread and heavier today and tomorrow, but then from late Wednesday it may intensify quickly bringing flash flooding to large parts of the country. As is often the case, flooding may well be the most significant impact of this unfolding hazardous weather event.

As the system evolves over the next 24 hours we expect the computer forecasts will better resolve all of these variables, but if the current forecast is anywhere near accurate it will likely be a significant threat to Fiji.

The next name on the list is TINO, so if and when TD04F reaches tropical cyclone intensity and is given a name, that’s what to listen out for. Best estimate right now is that this will most likely happen sometime tomorrow, probably later in the day.

SOURCE – NA DRAKI WEATHER

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