Tropical Cyclone “Uesi” hits New Caledonia, on track to bring strong winds and heavy rain to Lord Howe Island and Australian east coast

Tropical Cyclone “Uesi” has dumped heavy rains to northern New Caledonia as the storm passed west of the islands on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. The storm is on course to bring severe storms to Australia’s east coast in the following days, while New Zealand’s South Island will see heavy rain from the storm’s remnants during the weekend.

Damage has been reported in the northern area of New Caledonia as the storm brought heavy rain and strong winds. According to the media, 16 people were evacuated to shelters on Belep.

Up to 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain fell in 48 hours to Wednesday, inundating roads which left several communities isolated. Furthermore, power outages occurred in parts of the north of the main island Grand Terre where a maximum cyclone alert remains in place.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s bulletin issued at 12:45 UTC on February 12, the storm remains at Category 2 intensity with sustained winds near the center of 110 km/h (70 mph) with wind gusts to 155 km/h (95 mph). At 22:00 LT (12:00 UTC), the storm was approximately 870 km (540 miles) north-northeast of Lord Howe Island, moving south-southwest at 17 km/h (11 mph).

“Convection has significantly weakened around Uesi in the last 24 hours and it is apparent there is increasing northwesterly shear across the system due to a negatively tilted upper trough over eastern Australia,” BOM wrote.

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Tropical Cyclone “Uesi” at 14:30 UTC on February 12, 2020. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA

via Gfycat