Late-season Tropical Cyclone "Zena" forms west of Vanuatu, moving toward Fiji

Late-season Tropical Cyclone

Late-season Tropical Cyclone "Zena" has formed just west of Vanuatu in the south-west Pacific on April 5, 2016.

Zena is moving toward the island nation of Fiji where slow-moving area of active thunderstorms brought 208 mm (8.2 inches) of rain on Monday, April 4. The resulting widespread flooding claimed the life of at least one person.

Image credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP/VIIRS. Acquired April 5, 2016.

At 09:00 UTC on April 5, Tropical Cyclone "Zena" (18P) had maximum sustained winds near 62 km/h (40 mph). At the time, Zena was moving over the northern section of the island of Espiritu Santo. It was located about 1 331 km (826.8 miles) west-northwest of Suva, Fiji, and was tracking east-southeastward at 33.3 km/h (20.1 mph), according to Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

JTWC forecasters said Zena will move east-southeast, cross Vanuatu and track just south of Fiji on April 6, bringing gusty winds, heavy rainfall and rough surf. Zena is expected to strengthen to 82.6 km/h (57.5 mph) on April 6 before weakening again. By April 7, the storm is expected to pass just north of the island of Tonga and run into increasing vertical wind shear which will weaken it.

Tropical Cyclone "Zena" (18P) forecast track by JTWC on April 5, 2016.

UK Met Office’s Global Model signals the possibility of a further 250 - 400 mm (9.8 - 15.7 inches) of rain across Vanuatu and Fiji by the end of the week. "With much of Fiji still in recovery after the damage brought by Tropical Cyclone "Winston" in late February, further disruption to the islands is likely."

72-hr rainfall accumulation by 12:00 UTC on April 5, 2016. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Google GPM

Tropical Cyclone "Zena" on April 5, 2016. Credit: JMA / Himawari

Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP/VIIRS. Acquired April 5, 2016.

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