Cyclone Ian Hits Tonga
This year’s first strong cyclone has spun up in the Southwest Pacific of the Southern Hemisphere. The cyclone – cyclone Ian, formed to the southwest of the Samoan islands and quickly strengthened under prime conditions for intensification. Yesterday the strongest part of Ian clipped the islands of Tonga, as a category four bearing winds around 225km/h and an estimated central pressure near 950mb. All kinds of hazards are associated with a cyclone of this strength: landslides, storm surges and flooding. These risks are enhanced because this cyclone is slow moving. Communications had been cut off from the northern islands on Friday night, where a state of emergency had been issued, therefore the scale of damage to the island remains unknown there. The island of Hunga had reported damage to homes that had their roofs blown off. Tonga’s capital, which is about 100km further south than the northern islands, did not take a direct hit and only minor damage/flooding has been reported there.
The cyclone is expected to continue moving southeast into the south Pacific where it will die off due to cold sea surface temperatures; unfavorable for development.
Australia Baking Under Intense Heat
In other news, Australia is experiencing an intense heat wave which broke numerous daily records as well as a few all-time records such as the new all-time high of 48°C reached at Narrabri on January 3rd. The country has been plagued with heat waves the past few years, including last year which was Australia’s warmest year on record since records started.