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1990–91 South Pacific cyclone season

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1990–91 South Pacific cyclone season
1990-1991 South Pacific cyclone season summary.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formed November 23, 1990
Last system dissipated May 19, 1991
Strongest storm
Name Sina
 • Maximum winds 140 km/h (85 mph)
(10-minute sustained)
 • Lowest pressure 960 hPa (mbar)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions 5
Tropical cyclones 3
Severe tropical cyclones 1
Total fatalities None reported
Total damage $18.5 million (1991 USD)
Related articles
South Pacific tropical cyclone seasons
1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93

The 1990–91 South Pacific cyclone season was one of the least active cyclone seasons, with only three tropical cyclones occurring within the South Pacific basin which is to the east of 160°E. The season officially ran from November 1, 1990, to April 30, 1991, with the first disturbance of the season forming on November 23 and the last disturbance dissipating on May 19. This is the period of the year when most tropical cyclones form within the South Pacific Ocean. During the season there was no deaths recorded from any of the tropical cyclones while they were within the basin. However six people were killed by Cyclone Joy, when it made landfall on Australia. As a result of the impacts caused by Joy and Sina, the names were retired from the tropical cyclone naming lists.

During the season, tropical cyclones were monitored by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers (TCWC) in Nadi, Fiji, and in Wellington, New Zealand.[A 1] Whilst tropical cyclones that moved to the west of 160°E were monitored as a part of the Australian region. Both the United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and the Naval Western Oceanography Center (NWOC) issued unofficial warnings within the southern Pacific. The JTWC issued warnings between 160°E and the International Date Line whilst the NWOC issued warnings for tropical cyclones forming between the International Date Line and the coasts of the Americas. Both the JTWC and the NWOC designated tropical cyclones with a number and a P suffix with numbers assigned in order to tropical cyclones developing within the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. TCWC Nadi, TCWC Wellington and TCWC Brisbane all use the Australian Tropical Cyclone Intensity Scale and estimate wind speeds over a ten-minute period, while the JTWC estimates sustained winds over a one-minute period, which are subsequently compared to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS).

Seasonal summary[edit]

Cyclone Joy Cyclone Sina Tropical cyclone scales#Comparisons across basins

As a result of the South Pacific Convergence Zone being both weaker and located further to the north than in previous seasons and the Madden–Julian oscillations being weaker and less regular defined than in previous tropical cyclone seasons.[1] As a result, only three tropical cyclones occurred within the South Pacific basin between 160°E and 120°W, which made the season one of the least active on record.[1][2] The first tropical cyclone was first noted as a shallow depression on November 20 before it was named Sina on November 24 after it had intensified into a tropical cyclone.[3] After peaking as a category three severe tropical cyclone on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale, Sina affected Fiji, Tonga, Niue and the Southern Cook Islands with total damage estimated at over 18.5 million before it was last noted on December 4, as it was absorbed by an advancing trough of low pressure near 50°S.[1][4] During December 15, the precursor tropical low to Cyclone Joy developed near the Solomon Islands.[4] Over the next two days the system moved westwards, before it moved into the Australian region during December 17.[1] The system was subsequently named Joy on December 19, before it made landfall on Queensland during December 26.[1]

The basin then remained quiet until March when three significant tropical depressions including 15 and 16P were observed within the Coral Sea/Australian region, which did not develop into tropical cyclones but were subject to gale warnings.[5] 15P was first noted on March 3, while it was located about 900 km (560 mi) to the east of the Solomon Islands and over the next couple of days subsequently moved south-westwards and out of the South Pacific basin during the next day.[6] 16P was first noted on March 14, while located about 300 km (185 mi) to the southeast of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.[7][A 2] Over the next couple of days the system moved towards the south-east before the JTWC designated the system 16P and initiated advisories on it during March 18 after it had moved into the South Pacific basin.[8] Over the next couple of days the system, moved towards the south-southeast before it turned towards the southwest and passed over New Caledonia on March 20, before it was last noted during the next day moving out of the basin.[7] The final tropical cyclone of the season, Lisa, moved into the Southern Pacific on May 11 at its peak intensity of 110 km/h (75 mph).[1][4] During the next day as the storm moved towards the subtropical jet, Lisa rapidly weakened into a tropical depression before passing over Anatom Island without causing any significant damage.[1] After the season both the names Sina and Joy were retired from the naming lists for the region, while it was determined that a weak gale force tropical cyclone had affected Tonga between December 14–17.[2][9][10]

Systems[edit]

Severe Tropical Cyclone Sina[edit]

Category 3 severe tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Category 4 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Sina Nov 27 1990 0233Z.jpg Sina 1990 track.png
Duration November 20 – December 4
Peak intensity 140 km/h (85 mph) (10-min)  960 hPa (mbar)
Main article: Cyclone Sina

On November 20, the FMS started to monitor a shallow tropical depression that had developed within the South Pacific Convergence Zone to the west of Wallis Island.[11][12] Over the next three days the system moved towards the west-northwest and the Fijian dependency of Rotuma, before the JTWC initiated advisories and classified the depression as Tropical Cyclone 03P during November 24.[8][11] TCWC Nadi subsequently named the system Sina after the depression had developed into a category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian scale, while it was located about 425 km (265 mi) to the northwest of Rotuma.[11][4] During the next day the cyclone continued to intensify and developed an eye as it moved erratically towards the west-southwest and performed a small clockwise loop.[11] During that day Sina's eye became very distinct on satellite imagery, as it intensified and the upper level steering flow which resulted in Sina moving erratically towards the southeast and Fiji.[11] Later that day TCWC Nadi reported that the system had peaked as a category 3 severe tropical cyclone, with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 140 km/h (85 mph).[4][13]

The JTWC subsequently reported early the next day that Sina had peaked with 1-minute sustained wind speeds of 140 km/h (85 mph), which made it equivalent to a category 4 hurricane on the SSHWS.[14] Sina remained at its peak intensity for most of that day, before it started to gradually weaken as it passed about 40 km (25 mi) to the south of Viti Levu before it passed over the island groups of Vatulele and Moala and the Southern Lau Islands during November 28.[11] Early on November 29, Sina weakened into a category two tropical cyclone on the Australian scale just before it passed to the north of Tongatapu in Tonga.[11][4] During that day the system moved eastwards towards the Southern Cook Islands and gradually weakened further.[14] Early the next day, the system passed about 160 km (100 mi) to the south of Niue, before it recurved sharply towards the south-southeast later that day as it approached the Southern Cook Islands. The system subsequently rapidly weakened and transitioned into an extratropical cyclone under the influence of strong vertical wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures.[11] Over the next couple of days Sina's extratropical remnants maintained a southeastward track, before it was absorbed by an advancing trough of low pressure near 50°S on December 4.[15]

The cyclone caused no deaths and over US$18.5 million in damages, as it affected Fiji, Tonga, Niue and the Southern Cook Islands.[15] Ahead of the system affecting Fiji, hundreds of holiday makers were evacuated from Fiji's outer island resorts to hotels on the mainland.[16][17] High winds and heavy rain forced the closure of several local airports and the main Nadi International Airport.[17] As Sina moved through the archipelago, the system destroyed or damaged houses and other building structures, while bringing down electric and telephone lines and uprooting trees.[11][13] The system also washed away a railway bridge on Vanua Levu that was used to take sugar cane to Labasa's mills, growers had no choice but to go through the village of Korowiri.[18] However, the workers refused to go into their fields unless they had police protection to go through the village, after Methodists from the local church attacked a group of growers for working on Sundays in defiance of Fiji's Sunday Observance Decree.[18] Within Tonga only minor damage to weak structures, trees, banana plantations, electric and telephone lines was recorded. Within both Niue and the Southern Cook Islands only minor damage to crops and structures was reported.[11]

Tropical Cyclone Lisa[edit]

Category 2 tropical cyclone (Australian scale)
Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Lisa May 10 1991 0345Z.jpg Lisa 1991 track.png
Duration May 11 – May 13
Peak intensity 110 km/h (70 mph) (10-min)  975 hPa (mbar)

Tropical Cyclone Lisa moved into the South Pacific from the Australian region during May 11, while it was a Category 2 tropical cyclone with sustained wind speeds of 110 km/h (75 mph).[19][20][21] Over the next couple of days, Lisa moved south-eastwards and passed in between the Vanuatuan islands of Tanna and Anatom as it gradually weakened and lost its tropical cyclone characteristics.[1][20] Lisa's remnants subsequently started to deepen during May 14, under the influence of an upper level mid latitude trough and reached a secondary peak intensity of 100 km/h (65 mph).[1][4] Over the next few days the system continued to move towards the southeast while slowly weakening until it was last noted dissipating about 2,600 km (1,615 mi) to the east of Wellington, New Zealand.[1] There were no reports of any significant damage associated with Lisa in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu or the Solomon Islands.[20][22]

Other systems[edit]

On December 15, in response to the formation of Typhoon Russ, in the North-Western Pacific Ocean, a tropical low developed about 500 km (310 mi) to the south-east of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.[1] Over the next two days the moved westwards before it moved into the Australian basin during December 17, where it was later named Joy.[1] A weak gale force tropical cyclone affected Tonga between December 14–17.[2][10]

During March, three significant tropical depressions including 15 and 16P were observed within the Coral Sea/Australian region, which did not become tropical cyclones on the Australian scale but were subject to gale warnings.[5] 15P was first noted on March 3, while it was located about 900 km (560 mi) to the east of the Solomon Islands and over the next couple of days subsequently moved south-westwards and out of the South Pacific basin during the next day.[6] 16P was first noted on March 14, while located about 300 km (185 mi) to the southeast of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.[7] Over the next couple of days the system moved towards the south-east before the JTWC designated the system 16P and initiated advisories on it during March 18 after it had moved into the South Pacific basin.[8] Over the next couple of days the system moved towards the south-southeast before it turned towards the southwest and passed over New Caledonia on March 20, before it was last noted during the next day as it moved back into the Australian region.[7]

Season effects[edit]

This table lists all the storms that developed in the South Pacific to the east of longitude 160°E during the 1990–91 season. It includes their intensity on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale, duration, name, landfalls, deaths, and damages. All data is taken from the warning centers from the region unless otherwise noted.

Name Dates active Peak classification Sustained
wind speeds
Pressure Land areas affected Damage
(USD)
Deaths Refs
Sina November 23 – December 4 Category 3 severe tropical cyclone 140 km/h (85 mph) 960 hPa (28.35 inHg) Fiji, Niue, Tonga, Cook Islands $18.5 million None [1]
Unnamed December 14 – 17 Category 1 tropical cyclone Unknown Unknown Tonga None None [2]
Joy December 15 – 17 Tropical depression 55 km/h (30 mph) 998 hPa (29.47 inHg) Solomon Islands None None [1]
16P March 15 – 21 Tropical depression 65 km/h (35 mph) 1000 hPa (29.53 inHg) New Caledonia None None [7]
Lisa May 11 – 19 Category 2 tropical cyclone 110 km/h (70 mph) 975 hPa (28.79 inHg) Solomon Islands, Vanuatu None None [20][22]
Season Aggregates
5 systems November 23 – May 19 140 km/h (85 mph) 960 hPa (28.35 inHg) >$18.5 million None


See also[edit]

  • Atlantic hurricane seasons: 1990, 1991
  • Pacific hurricane seasons: 1990, 1991
  • Pacific typhoon seasons: 1990, 1991
  • North Indian Ocean cyclone seasons: 1990, 1991

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ TCWC Nadi warned on systems in the South Pacific located from the Equator to 25°S and from 160°E to 120°W. TCWC Wellington warns on systems from 25°S to 40°S and from 160°E to 120°W
  2. ^ The figures for maximum sustained winds and position estimates are rounded to the nearest 5 units (miles, or kilometers), following the convention used in the Fiji Meteorological Service's operational products for each storm. All other units are rounded to the nearest digit.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bannister Anthony J; Smith, K. J (December 4, 1993). "The South Pacific and Southeast Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Season 1990–1991" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 42 (4): 111–121. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Terry, James P (2007). "Appendix 1". Tropical cyclones: climatology and impacts in the South Pacific. Springer. pp. 188–191. ISBN 978-0-387-71542-1. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Ward, Graham F.A (March 1, 1995). "Prediction of tropical cyclone formation in terms of sea-surface temperatures vorticity and vertical windshear" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 44. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g MetService (May 22, 2009). "TCWC Wellington Best Track Data 1967–2006". International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship. 
  5. ^ a b Darwin Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (1991). "March 1991" (PDF). Darwin Tropical Diagnostic Statement. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 10 (3): 3. ISSN 1321-4233. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Joint Typhoon Warning Center. "Tropical Depression 15P best track analysis". United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Joint Typhoon Warning Center. "Tropical Depression 16P best track analysis". United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Joint Typhoon Warning Center; Naval Western Oceanography Center (1992). 6. Tropical Cyclone Warning Verification Statistics: Southern Hemisphere (PDF) (1991 Annual Tropical Cyclone Report). United States Navy, United States Airforce. pp. 213–220. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ RA V Tropical Cyclone Committee. "Tropical Cyclone Operational Plan for the South Pacific and South-East Indian Ocean" (PDF) (2012 ed.). World Meteorological Organization. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "The Kingdom of Tonga's Initial National Communication In response to its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" (PDF). The Government of Tonga. July 21, 2005. pp. 12–13. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Prasad, Rajendra; Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (July 3, 1992). Tropical Cyclone Sina, November 24 - 30, 1990 (PDF) (Tropical Cyclone Report 90/6). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Ward, Graham F.A (March 1, 1995). "Prediction of tropical cyclone formation in terms of sea-surface temperatures vorticity and vertical windshear" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 44 (1): 63–64. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Fiji Meteorological Service (1992). DeAngellis, Richard M, ed. "Hurricane Alley: Cyclones of the Southeast Pacific Ocean 1990–1991: Tropical Cyclone Sina November 24 – 30, 1990". Mariners Weather Log. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Oceanographic Data Center. 36 (4: Fall 1992): 54. hdl:2027/uiug.30112104094179. ISSN 0025-3367. OCLC 648466886. 
  14. ^ a b Joint Typhoon Warning Center; Naval Western Oceanography Center. "Tropical Cyclone 03P (Sina) best track analysis". United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Bannister Anthony J; Smith, K. J (December 4, 1993). "The South Pacific and Southeast Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone Season 1990–1991" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 42 (4): 111 – 121. Retrieved June 16, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Tourists flee cyclone Sina". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. Australian Associated Press. November 28, 1990. p. 14. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Sharma, Davendra; Riley, Mark (November 28, 1990). "Hundreds flee path of cyclone; Fiji". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 13. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b Gaunder, Y (December 23, 1990). "Fiji Methodists sour sugar crop". Sunday Herald. 
  19. ^ Joint Typhoon Warning Center. "Tropical Cyclone 21P (Lisa) best track analysis". United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d Pandaram, Sudha (July 3, 1992). Tropical Cyclone Lisa, May 7 - 13, 1991 (PDF) (Tropical Cyclone Report 91/1). Fiji Meteorological Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  21. ^ Tropical Cyclone Lisa, May 8 - 13, 1991 (Report). Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Archived from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Tropical cyclones in Vanuatu: 1847 to 1994 (PDF) (Report). Vanuatu Meteorological Service. May 19, 1994. Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]