A strong cold front is expected to move in to the Bermuda Marine area tonight. Conditions ahead and along the front as it moves in are expected to be favorable for strong to severe thunderstorms to develop, in fact thunderstorms are starting to develop along the front now as it sits well to the west of Bermuda. A severe thunderstorm is defined by thunderstorm wind gusts over 50kts, hail 3/4″ in diameter or greater, and or tornadoes.
Additionally, strong to gale force (>34kts or 39mph sustained) southerly winds, unrelated to thunderstorms, may make maritime activities hazardous late tonight before the cold front passes with its shower and thunderstorm activity. Westerly and northwesterly gales behind the front are to develop for Wednesday and last into Thursday. As a result a plethora of watches, warnings and advisories are in effect – see the latest official products from the Bermuda Weather Service here.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Evan formed near Wallis and Futuna as a Tropical Depression as determined by the Fiji Meteorological Agency – the regional meteorological agency in charge of tropical cyclone prediction in the Southwest Pacific. it slowly strengthened and organized as it headed eastwards in an unusual move. Then, as it closed in on Samoa, the storm rapidly intensified into a category 2 equivalent cyclone with 105mph 1-minute sustained winds just before striking Samoa where it caused extensive damage from storm surge, river flooding, and damaging winds leaving at least two people dead.
Evan then looped back to the west-southwest and skirted the western part of Samoa, continuing to strengthen into a category 3 equivalent storm with 115mph 1-minute sustained winds. Continuing in this direction, Evan passed very close to Wallis and Futuna – the area where it formed – likely bringing hurricane conditions there.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Evan then continued to slowly strengthen before it made a direct hit on both of Fiji’s main islands with 120mph and 140mph 1-minute sustained winds according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Nadi international Airport, on the western side of the main island – the side that was hit hardest – reported sustained winds of 69mph and a peak gust of 104mph. Stronger winds were likely observed elsewhere along the western sides of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and outlying western islands. The cyclone is now moving into the extreme southern Pacific where cooler waters and higher wind shear are working to tear this early season cyclone apart. Evan is expected to be at or below tropical depression strength well before threatening New Zealand or any other land mass in the next few days.