Tropical Cyclone "Uesi" formed on February 9, 2020, about 340 km (210 miles) west of Sanma, Vanuatu as the 4th named storm of the 2019/20 South Pacific cyclone season. The cyclone is expected to continue strengthening as it moves close to New Caledonia over the next 24 to 48 hours.
At 18:00 UTC on February 10, the center of Severe Tropical Cyclone "Uesi" was located 145 km (90 miles) NE of Ile Pott, New Caledonia.
The storm was moving SSW at 15 km/h (9 mph) and sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph) near the center.
Environmental conditions remain favorable with low vertical wind shear, robust poleward outflow, and warm sea surface temperatures that will promote a modest intensification to a peak of 140 km/h (85 mph) by 18:00 UTC tomorrow, February 11.
"Over the next 24 hours, UESI is strengthening and should pass close to the north of Grande-Terre, from the evening of Tuesday, February 11 to the morning of Wednesday, February 12," Meteo France New Caledonia noted. "It could then be located approximately 130 km (80 miles) west of Bélep."
Consequently, the level 1 cyclonic alert is in effect in the North Province, municipalities of Bélep, Poum, Koumac, Kaala-Gomen, Voh, Koné, Pouembout, Ouégoa, Pouébo, Hienghène, Touho, Poindimié and Ponérihouen as of Tuesday, February 11 at 06:00 LT.
The cyclonic pre-alert is maintained in the rest of New Caledonia.
The entire population is invited to remain vigilant, exercise caution in view of the deterioration of weather conditions in the next 48 hours, keep themselves informed through official channels and respect the instructions issued by civil security.
Tropical Cyclone "Uesi" at 22:10 UTC on February 10, 2020. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA
Vertical wind shear will begin to increase after 21:00 UTC on February 11 and the cyclone is expected to start its subtropical transition late February 13, JTWC forecasters noted at 21:00 UTC today.
Featured image credit: UW-CIMSS