There are currently four cyclones active across tropical regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Here we take a look at each storm and its impacts.
Cyclone Pam is the most intense of the four cyclones and, at the time of writing on March 13, is making landfall over the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean as one of the most intense southern hemisphere cyclones on record. Sustained winds are estimated to be near 170 mph with a central pressure of 900 mb. Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, is located on the island of Efate and here preparations for the cyclone have been rushed to completion and residents of the city with a population of 45,000 have taken cover as the cyclone approaches. The eye of the cyclone is expected to pass just to the east, if not directly over the city.
Australia was struck by two cyclones simultaneously in February (Marcia and Lam) and this week is dealing with another dual threat. Cyclone Olwyn came ashore yesterday (12 March) in Western Australia near the town of Exmouth with wind gusts of 112 mph recorded at Learmonth Airport and a 1.75 m storm surge. Olwyn is tracking parallel to the coast and so is continuing to bring strong winds and heavy rain to a large stretch of the coast of Western Australia.
Meanwhile in northern Queensland Tropical Storm Nathan has made a very close approach to the coast bringing over 200mm rain in places in 24 hours. However, the centre of the storm has stayed off shore and is predicted to move back out to sea so minimising the threat of this storm to populated areas.
Tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere are not frequent at this time of year, but in the North Pacific Tropical Storm Bavi has formed and is slowly gathering strength. The storm is well away from any large land masses, but by the end of the weekend could pass close to the US island territory of Guam.
Official warnings for these cyclones are produced by the Fiji Meteorological Service, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Japan Meteorological Agency. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.