What a cyclone in Vanuatu means for you
Premium update #29
🌀 During the last week of October, a tropical cyclone (hurricane) was violently spinning in the South Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t just any tropical cyclone — it was the South Pacific’s first category 5 storm during the month of October on record and it was aiming for Vanuatu.
It happened to coincide with my annual mission to the Pacific Islands, where I helped to coordinate the 13th Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF). At PICOF, meteorological services and sector representatives from across the Pacific gather to discuss the climate and ocean outlook for the months ahead, to prepare for things like El Niño and the possibility for floods and droughts, and tropical cyclone season, which runs from November-April in this part of the world.
I opened the second day of the forum with a weather discussion. When I mentioned that the storm, named Lola, had intensified into a category 5 overnight, there was an audible gasp in the room of about 80 participants.
It was the first ever PICOF to coincide with such an intense cyclone.
Although it was sunny and hot in Fiji where the conference was taking place, the participants from Vanuatu were clearly distracted and concerned with the weather that was going on back home — who could blame them?
The storm was due to hit the nation made up of 83 islands that night.
Although it weakened slightly as it crossed Vanuatu, Lola came with a fair deal of fury, leaving a trail of damage in the country’s north.
Tropical cyclones —the name for a hurricane in the South Pacific— tend to be more numerous during El Niño episodes.
In fact, the development of cyclones in this part of the world are sometimes connected to the pattern that causes El Niño to intensify further.
Although Cyclone Lola was over 8,000 miles away from the Hudson Valley, its very existence could have a material impact on the weather that New York and the wider Northeast experiences during winter.
How can that be? Come take a dive with me into the Western Pacific Warm Pool! 🤿