Fiji Meteorological Service

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Location of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean -174 -20 globe.jpg
Location of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean

The Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) is a Department of the government of Fiji responsible for providing weather forecasts and is based in Nadi. The current director of Fiji Meteorological Service is Misaeli Funaki. Since 1985, FMS has been responsible for naming and tracking tropical cyclones in the Southwest Pacific region. Current Meteorologists working at FMS have a Graduate Diploma in Meteorology from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

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History

In the 1910s, weather services for Fiji were considered part of the responsibility of the Harbour Board in Suva. [1]

Role of Fiji Meteorological Services

Nadi town.jpg

Since June 1995, the central weather office of Fiji, Nadi, has been one of six Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers within the World Weather Watch program of the World Meteorological Organization. Its specialty is forecasting tropical cyclones south of the equator to the 25th parallel south, and between the 160th meridian east and 120th meridian west longitude. FMS issues public and marine weather bulletins for Kiribati, Northern Cooks, Southern Cooks, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Niue, Nauru and Fiji. The Fiji Meteorological Services, as per agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization, functions as the Meteorological Watch Office for the Nadi Flight Information Region (FIR), which extends from Western Kiribati to Tuvalu, Fiji, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia. However, it still provides certain aviation forecast services to Cook Islands, Christmas Island (Line Islands), Samoa, Niue and Tonga which are situated outside the Nadi FIR boundary. Aviation products issued by FMS include Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAF), Trend Type Forecasts (TTF), Area Forecasts, Route Forecasts, Inclement Weather Warnings for Nadi and Nausori Airports, Sigmets and Tropical Cyclone Advisories (TCA). Routine 24 hour TAF's are issued for Nadi (NFFN), Nausori (NFNA), Rarotonga (NCRG), Fuamotu (NFTF), Vavau (NFTV), Faleolo (NFSA), Niue, Tarawa (NGTA), and Christmas Island (PLCH) airports. 24 hour TAF's are also issued for Funafuti (NGFU) airport on certain days. TAF's (validity periods of less than 24 hours) are also issued for Aitutaki (NCAI), Manihiki (NCMH), Penrhyn (NCPY), Haapai (NFTL), Labasa (NFNL) and Rotuma (NFNR) airports.

Tropical Cyclone Products Issued by FMS

Special Weather Bulletins (SWB's), Tropical Disturbance Advisories (TDA's), Special Advisory for Samoa, Tropical Cyclone Advisories (TCA's), Tropical Cyclone Sigmets, CREX bulletins, International Marine Warnings associated with tropical cyclones (WTPS and WHPS) and Tropical cyclone forecast and uncertainty tracks are the tropical cyclone products issued by FMS.

See also

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2006–07 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

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2008–09 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

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Cyclone Tam Category 1 South Pacific cyclone in 2006

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2009–10 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

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1992–93 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

The 1992–93 South Pacific cyclone season was an above-average tropical cyclone season with ten tropical cyclones occurring within the South Pacific to the east of 160°E. The season officially ran from November 1, 1992, to April 30, 1993, with the first disturbance of the season forming on December 3 and the last disturbance dissipating on April 6.

2012–13 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

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1989–90 South Pacific cyclone season cyclone season in the South Pacific ocean

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2013–14 South Pacific cyclone season

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2014–15 South Pacific cyclone season

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Cyclone Ofa Category 4 South Pacific cyclone in 1990

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ofa was considered to be the worst tropical cyclone to affect Polynesia since Cyclone Bebe. The system was first noted on January 27, 1990, near Tuvalu, as a shallow tropical depression that had developed within the South Pacific Convergence Zone. The cloud pattern slowly organized, and on January 31, while located east of Tuvalu, Ofa attained cyclone intensity. Moving slowly southeast, Ofa developed storm-force winds. It attained hurricane-force winds on February 2. Cyclone Ofa reached peak intensity on February 4. Shortly after, its peak Ofa began to weaken over a less favourable environment. Ofa was declared an extratropical cyclone on February 8, though the system was still tracked by meteorologists until February 10.

Cyclone Sina Category 3 South Pacific cyclone in 1990

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2015–16 South Pacific cyclone season east of 160°E

The 2015–16 South Pacific cyclone season was one of the most disastrous South Pacific tropical cyclone seasons on record, with a total of 50 deaths and $1.405 billion in damage. Throughout the season, 8 systems attained tropical cyclone status, whilst 5 became severe tropical cyclones. The most notable cyclone of the season by far was Winston, which attained a minimum pressure of 884 hPa, and maximum ten-minute sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/h), making it the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. Winston went on to devastate Fiji, causing $1.4 billion in damage and 44 deaths across the country.

2016–17 South Pacific cyclone season

The 2016–17 South Pacific cyclone season was the least active South Pacific cyclone season since the 2011–12 season, with only four tropical cyclones occurring within the South Pacific Ocean to the east of 160°E. Two of the four systems developed into severe tropical cyclones on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale. The season officially ran from November 1, 2016 until April 30, 2017. However, May featured two post-season systems: Donna and Ella, of which the former was the strongest post-season South Pacific tropical cyclone ever recorded in that month. Overall, 22 tropical disturbances were monitored by a combination of the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and New Zealand's MetService.

2017–18 South Pacific cyclone season

The 2017–18 South Pacific cyclone season was a slightly below-average season that produced 6 tropical cyclones, 3 of which became severe tropical cyclones. The season officially began on November 1, 2017 and ended on April 30, 2018; however, a tropical cyclone could form at any time between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones were officially monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service, MetService and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, while the United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) also monitored the basin and issued warnings for American interests. The FMS attaches a number and an F suffix to significant tropical disturbances that form in or move into the basin, while the JTWC designates significant tropical cyclones with a number and a P suffix. The BoM, FMS and MetService all use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale and estimate wind speeds over a period of ten minutes, while the JTWC estimates sustained winds over a 1-minute period, which are subsequently compared to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS).

2018–19 South Pacific cyclone season South Pacific season in 2018 and 2019

The 2018–19 South Pacific cyclone season was a below-average season that produced 5 tropical cyclones, 2 of which became severe tropical cyclones. The season officially runs from November 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019; however, a tropical cyclone could form at any time between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones will be officially monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and New Zealand's MetService. The United States Armed Forces through the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) also monitored the basin and issued warnings for American interests. RSMC Nadi attaches a number and an F suffix to tropical disturbances that form in or move into the basin, while the JTWC designates significant tropical cyclones with a number and a P suffix. The FMS, the BoM and MetService all use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale and estimate wind speeds over a period of ten minutes, while the JTWC estimates sustained winds over a 1-minute period, which are subsequently compared to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS).

2019–20 South Pacific cyclone season

The 2019–20 South Pacific cyclone season is the period of the year when most tropical cyclones form within the South Pacific Ocean to the east of 160°E. The season officially runs from November 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, however a tropical cyclone could form at any time between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 and would count towards the season total. During the season, tropical cyclones were officially monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and New Zealand's MetService. The United States Armed Forces through the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) also monirors the basin and issue unofficial warnings for American interests. The FMS attaches a number and an F suffix to tropical disturbances that form in or move into the basin while the JTWC designates significant tropical cyclones with a number and a P suffix. The FMS, BoM and MetService all use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale and estimate wind speeds over a period of ten minutes, while the JTWC estimated sustained winds over a 1-minute period, which are subsequently compared to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS).

Cyclone Bebe

Severe Tropical Cyclone Bebe, also known as Hurricane Bebe, was a pre-season storm in the South Pacific Ocean that impacted Fiji, the Ellice Islands and the Gilbert Islands during October 1972.

Cyclone Tino 2020 South Pacific cyclone

Severe Tropical Cyclone Tino was a tropical cyclone which itself and an associated convergence zone caused significant damage across 10 island nations in the South Pacific Ocean during January 2020. First noted as a tropical disturbance during January 11, to the southwest of Honiara in the Solomon Islands, the system gradually developed over the next few days as it moved eastwards in between the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu prior to being named Tino as it approached Fiji during January 16. Continuing to track south-eastward, Tino continued strengthening as it passed near Fiji, bringing copious amounts of rainfall to the area. Whilst losing latitude, the system continued to strengthen and peaked as a category 3 tropical cyclone on January 17, with signs of an eye forming. Shortly after peak intensity, Tino was impacted by high wind shear and decreasing sea surface temperatures, triggering a weakening trend. Tino moved out of the tropics shortly thereafter and became an extratropical cyclone during January 19.

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