Cyclone Ian

Last updated
Severe Tropical Cyclone Ian
Category 5 severe tropical cyclone (Aus scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Ian Jan 11 2014 0140Z.jpg
Cyclone Ian on January 11
FormedJanuary 2, 2014
DissipatedJanuary 15, 2014
(Extratropical after January 14)
Highest winds 10-minute sustained:205 km/h (125 mph)
1-minute sustained:240 km/h (150 mph)
Gusts:285 km/h (180 mph)
Lowest pressure930 hPa (mbar); 27.46 inHg
Fatalities1 direct
Damage$48 million (2014 USD)
Areas affected Fiji, Tonga
Part of the 2013–14 South Pacific cyclone season

Cyclone Ian was a powerful tropical cyclone that formed on January 2, 2014. Areas affected by the tropical cyclone include Fiji and Tonga. In Tonga, Ian caused destruction in the Ha'apai islands, as well as one fatality.

Contents

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale Ian 2014 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

During January 2, 2014 the Fiji Meteorological Service's Regional Specialized Meteorological Center in Nadi, Fiji (RSMC Nadi) reported that Tropical Disturbance 07F had developed to the southeast of Futuna Island. [1] Over the next day the system gradually developed further underneath an upper level ridge of high pressure, within an area of moderate vertical wind shear, as it slowly moved towards the southwest. [1] [2] RSMC Nadi subsequently classified the disturbance as a tropical depression early on January 4, as the systems low level circulation center consolidated. [3] [4] Over the next day the system continued to move towards the southwest, before the United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center designated the system as Tropical Cyclone 07P late on January 5. [5] At around this time RSMC Nadi named the system Ian, after it had become a category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale. [6]

Early on January 8, RSMC Nadi reported that Ian had become a category two tropical cyclone. [7] During that day the systems organization significantly improved with RSMC Nadi reporting at 1800 UTC that Ian had become a category three severe tropical cyclone. [8] Over the next day the system developed a cloud filled eye and intensified into a category 4 severe tropical cyclone. On January 12, as Ian started to weaken RSMC Nadi handed the primary warning responsibility, for issuing warnings over to the Wellington Tropical Cyclone Warning Center.[ citation needed ]

Preparations and impact

Cyclone Ian intensifying off Tonga on January 6 Ian Jan 6 2014 0125Z.jpg
Cyclone Ian intensifying off Tonga on January 6

Late on January 10, a state of emergency was declared by Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano, after Ian intensified into a category five severe tropical cyclone [9] with 287 km/h winds. It struck the Ha'apai islands the next day between Tongatapu and Vava'u, according to the Director of Emergencies Leveni Aho. He also said that 23 islands that are a part of Ha'apai were unreachable by telephone and that patrol boats were traveling from island-to-island to get information. As a result of the cyclone, homes were flattened and at least one person was dead. Ha'apai governor Tu'i Ha'angana said that he was able to see from one side of the island to the other and "that's how devastated it is." [10] By 13 January, contact with the islands was restored. [11]

The electrical grid on Ha'apai sustained tremendous damage, with 90 percent of power lines being lost or severely damaged. Approximately 1,000 customers lost power during the storm. Estimates placed the cost to repair the system at NZ$4 million (US$3.5 million). By January 23, only 100 residences had power back and Tonga Power Limited (TPL) stated it could take a further two months to fully restore the system. [12] In addition to the severe disruption to power, 80–90 percent of the region's water supply was lost. Most residents in Ha'apai rely on rain water collection, and the collection tanks were largely destroyed by the storm. [13] The nation's tourism industry also experienced moderate to severe losses, with damage to facilities amounting to T$1.6 million (US$861,000). [14] Throughout the archipelago, 1,130 buildings were affected, half of which were completely destroyed. Of those structures not destroyed, 34 percent sustained major damage, including 13 schools. Approximately 2,300 people were left homeless by the storm. [15]

Total damage from the storm amounted to an estimated T$90.2 million (US$48 million). [16]

Aftermath

This church on Lifuka Island had its roof torn off by Cyclone Ian. A church on Lifuka Island in Tonga had its roof torn off by Cyclone Ian (12041227283).jpg
This church on Lifuka Island had its roof torn off by Cyclone Ian.

In the wake of Ian, the ANZ bank donated T$15,000 (US$8,000) to the Tonga Red Cross Society. [14] New Zealand provided NZ$2.27 million (US$1.87 million) in assistance to the TPL. In addition, six electricians, a front end loader, and a tractor were sent to assist in restoration and debris removal efforts. [17] Australia provided A$50,000 in emergency supplies including blankets, water containers, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and hygiene kits. [18] On January 22, the director of Tonga's National Emergency Office, Leveni Aho, announced that the scale of damage was beyond Tonga's ability to handle on its own and made a formal request for internal aid. Following this, China sent 400 tents to house displaced persons while France provided a cargo plane for supply transport. [13] In accordance with the FRANZ agreement, enacted in 1992, the Government of France established an air route from Nuku'alofa to Ha'apai and deployed an aircraft carrier from New Caledonia. The carrier, loaded with supplies from the French Red Cross, arrived in Tonga on January 17. [19] The Japanese Government provided 600  jerrycans and 30 water tanks (3,700 litre capacity), collectively worth ¥13 million (US$127,000). [20] Recovery from the cyclone is slow with over 80 families still living in tents over a year after the system had affected the islands. [21]

See also

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Cyclone Lusi

Cyclone Lusi was the second severe tropical cyclone of the 2013–14 season and affected Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand.

Cyclone Freda

Severe Tropical Cyclone Freda was an intense tropical cyclone that developed during the 2012–13 South Pacific cyclone season and affected New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands as a weak tropical cyclone. The system that was to become Cyclone Freda was first classified on December 26, 2012, as a tropical disturbance. It gradually developed and was classified as a tropical cyclone and named Freda as it passed through the Solomon Islands on December 28.

Cyclone Gita

Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita was the most intense tropical cyclone to impact Tonga since reliable records began. The second named storm and first major tropical cyclone of the 2017–18 South Pacific cyclone season, Gita originated from a monsoon trough that was active in the South Pacific in early February 2018. First classified as a tropical disturbance on 3 February, the nascent system meandered near Vanuatu for several days with little development. After acquiring a steady east trajectory near Fiji, it organized into a Category 1 tropical cyclone on 9 February near Samoa. Arcing south in a clockwise turn, the system rapidly intensified, and became a severe tropical cyclone on 10 February near Niue.

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