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Three out-of-season cyclones menace Pacific nations
In the last week, three named cyclones have developed in the Pacific Ocean. In the Southern Hemisphere, Cyclones Donna and Ella formed after the end of the normal cyclone season, while Tropical Storm Ella was the earliest Eastern Pacific cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere to develop in the satellite era record.
Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Donna caused widespread damage in the Torres Islands in northern Vanuatu [Govt of Vanuatu via Reliefweb] before strengthening to Category 5 and heading for New Caledonia. Donna fortunately weakened to Category 3 before sweeping down the eastern side of the New Caledonia main island and close to the Loyalty Island group, causing most damage on Lifou, the largest of the islands [ECHO, RNZ]. These Civil Security Directorate (DSCGR) bulletins on 10 May and 11 May give details - translation required for which I suggest using the browser Chrome.
By 11 and 12 May, Donna had weakened below cyclone strength and moved down the east coast of the New Zealand North Island, bringing over 100mm of rain and storm-force winds, closing highways and causing landslips [RNZ]. This was the third ex-cyclone to bring heavy rain, flooding and associated emergencies to this part of NZ in a little over a month - Debbie in early April, Cook just a week later and now Donna. Lisa Murray from the NZ Met Service discusses the links there are to climate change in this RNZ panel session.
Farther east, Tropical Cyclone Ella, the second out-of-season cyclone to develop in the South Pacific in a week, passed north of Fiji at Category 2 on 10 May, near the French territory of Futuna Island [ABC audio, interview with Fiji Meteorological Service, Accuweather]. At midday today, Ella had slowed and weakened to barely cyclone strength.
In the Northern Hemisphere Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Adrian became the earliest tropical depression since reliable satellite records began in 1970. It became a named storm on 9 May off the Central American coast and drifted NW into conditions unfavourable for development [Jeff Masters blog], weakening to a tropical depression two days later off the coast of Mexico [Weather Underground].
Cold in SE SA, SW VIC and SW NSW: A slab of country extending from southwestern VIC and southeastern SA north to the far SW corner of NSW had an unusually cold start to today. Lying under a high pressure system and clear skies, temperatures dropped as much as 6 to 7° below the average minimum. Mount Gambier's low of -0.3° was 7.3° below average and the lowest temperature recorded since 31 August 2015. Other minima considerably below normal included Mortlake 0.0° (6.6 below), Portland 2.0 (-6.3) and Warrnambool 0.9 (-6.3) on Victoria's West Coast, 0.3 (-6.8) at Pooncarie in SW NSW and -1.5 (-7.5) at Gluepot Reserve in SA 70km NW of Renmark.