Tomas moving away from Fiji Islands after causing damages

Mar 17, 2010
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, also known as "TRMM" passed over powerful tropical cyclone Tomas near the International Dateline in the South Pacific on March 15 at 2123 UTC (5:23 p.m. EDT). TRMM detected very heavy rainfall of over 50 mm/hr (~2 inches) mainly in Tomas' southeastern quadrant. Credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Cyclone Tomas hit the north and east areas of Fiji as a Category 4 Cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and has now moved south of them. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite captured an image of the heavy rains that were falling in Tomas during his swath of destruction in the Fiji Islands.

Today, March 17, at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Tomas was 710 miles southeast of Nadi, Fiji, near 27.0 South and 174.7 West and was a Category One cyclone. Tomas has near 86 mph (75 knots) and was speeding south-southeast at 31 mph (27 knots). Tomas is a large cyclone with hurricane-force winds extending 65 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extending as far as 215 miles from the center. That makes Tomas 430 miles in diameter.

The Fiji Meteorological Service issued bulletin 32 at 2:40 p.m. EDT on March 16, which would be March 17 at 7:40 a.m. Fiji local time. At that time, the tropical cyclone warning for the Fiji group of islands was canceled. However, a Strong Wind Warning remained in force for Southern Lau only. Southern Lau was forecast to experience winds from the southwest to the northwest, waning later today. Tomas is also creating very rough seas with waves up to 23 feet and heavy swells. The rest of the Fiji islands will experience moderate to rough seas today as Tomas continues to track south and away from the islands.

The Measuring Mission , also known as "TRMM" passed over powerful tropical cyclone Tomas near the International Dateline in the South Pacific on March 15 at 2123 UTC (5:23 p.m. EDT). TRMM measures rainfall from space, and the rainfall analysis used data from TRMM's (TMI) and Precipitation Radar (PR) instruments revealed that Tomas had a large circular eye, and was located about 242 kilometers (150 miles) from Fiji at that time. Tomas was decreasing in intensity but wind speeds were still estimated to be over 105 knots (~121 mph). detected very heavy rainfall of over 50 mm/hr (~2 inches) mainly in Tomas' southeastern quadrant.

Areas of north and east Fiji encountered winds near 109 mph (175 km/hour) and storm surges. About 17,000 people had gone to the evacuation centers before the storm hit. As a result of damages caused by Tomas, a "state of disaster" was declared in those areas, so that foreign assistance can come into the country. Houses were damaged, electricity, water and sewage systems were affected, and flooding was reported.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the western half of Tropical Cyclone Tomas as it flew overhead on March 17 at 01:53 UTC. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the western half of Tropical Cyclone Tomas as it flew overhead on March 17 at 01:53 UTC (March 16 at 9:53 p.m. EDT), and it showed the storm was still well-organized.

Tomas is now quickly moving southeast and is in cooler waters, which will continue to cause Tomas to weaken. Tomas is also transitioning into an extra-tropical storm.

Explore further: Study outlines 20-year process to create meteorological partnership between US and Cuba

Related Stories

Tropical Storm Tomas approaching Nadi this weekend

Mar 12, 2010

Tropical Storm Tomas is on a southern track in the South Pacific Ocean, and residents of Nadi, Fiji will be watching it as it approaches the eastern side of the island late this weekend. A tropical cyclone ...

Powerful Cyclone Tomas battering Northern Fiji islands

Mar 15, 2010

Tomas grew into a monster Category 4 cyclone and thrashed the northern Fiji Islands with heavy rains and maximum sustained winds of up to 170 mph (275 km). The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ...

Recommended for you

Quake rattles nerves in Napa Valley after 2014 disaster

13 hours ago

A magnitude-4.1 earthquake has jolted Napa Valley and became an unwelcome reminder of the wine country's large temblor last summer—the strongest quake to hit Northern California in a quarter-century.

Image: Cambodian rivers from orbit

19 hours ago

A flooded landscape in Cambodia between the Mekong River (right) and Tonlé Sap river (left) is pictured by Japan's ALOS satellite. The centre of this image is about 30 km north of the centre of the country's ...

Image: Agricultural fires in Angola, West Africa

May 21, 2015

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image which detected dozens of fires burning in southwestern Africa on May 21, 2015. The location, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.