- Cyclone Zoe
Severe Tropical Cyclone Zoe Category 5 cyclone (Australian scale) Category 5 cyclone (SSHS) Cyclone Zoe near its peak intensity Formed December 23, 2002 Dissipated January 1, 2003 Highest winds 10-minute sustained:
240 km/h (150 mph)
285 km/h (180 mph)
350 km/h (220 mph)
Lowest pressure 890 mbar (hPa; 26.28 inHg)
(Record low in the Southern Hemisphere)
Fatalities None recorded Areas affected Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Rotuma Part of the 2002-03 South Pacific cyclone season
Severe Tropical Cyclone Zoe (RSMC Nadi designation:04F, JTWC designation:06P) was the most intense tropical cyclone recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
Late on December 23, 2002 the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre in Nadi, Fiji reported that Tropical Depression 04F had formed about 665 km, (415 mi), to the east of Tuvalu. The depression at this time was emerging from the South Pacific Convergence Zone and was being steered to the west-southwest under the influence of a mid-level ridge of high pressure to the south of the system. Over the next couple of days the depression slowly organized before a tropical cyclone formation alert was issued early on December 25 after the system had crossed the International Dateline. Later that day the JTWC reported that the depression had intensified into Tropical Cyclone 06P with winds equivalent to a weak tropical storm. Later that day RSMC Nadi reported that the depression had intensified into a tropical cyclone and named it as Zoe.
Late on December 23, 2002 a tropical disturbance was identified within a trough of low pressure that was located within the South Pacific Convergence Zone, which was located about 665km (415miles) to the east of Tuvalu, and was assigned the designation of 04F by the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre located in Nadi, Fiji. Late the next day as deep convection had picked up around the centre of the disturbance; RSMC Nadi upgraded the disturbance to a tropical depression and then early on December 25, a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert was issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center as the depression was expected to become a significant tropical cyclone within 24 hours. During the afternoon of December 25, the JTWC designated the depression as Tropical Cyclone 06P, whilst later that day at 2100 UTC (0900 FST) RSMC Nadi upgraded the Tropical depression to a Tropical Cyclone and named it as Cyclone Zoe.
During the next morning RSMC Nadi noted that Zoe had continued to intensified and had become a category 2 cyclone. During that afternoon the JTWC reported that Zoe had winds off 75 knots (85 mph, 135 km/h) which made Cyclone Zoe a category one Cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Early on December 27 RSMC Nadi reported that Zoe had rapidly intensified in to a strong category four severe tropical cyclone, with winds of 110 knots whilst the JTWC reported that Zoe was only a strong category one cyclone on the SSHS.
During the afternoon of December 27 both RSMC Nadi & the JTWC reported that Severe Tropical Cyclone Zoe, had intensified in to a category five cyclone, on both the Australian cyclone intensity scale and the Saffir Simpson Huricanne Scale. RSMC Nadi reported at this time that Zoe had 10 minute maximum sustained winds of 120 knots whilst the JTWC reported that Zoe had reached it peak 1 minute maximum sustained winds of 155 knots Early the next day RSMC Nadi reported that Zoe had continued to intensify and had reached winds of 130 knots.
Between December 28 and December 29, Zoe moved very little, executing a small clockwise loop whilst maintaining its general intensity. During that time it passed over several small islands in the Temotu Province of the Solomon Islands. December 29 saw Zoe moving again, this time to the southeast. At this time, it encountered an unfavourable environment of increasing wind shear and colder waters, and began to weaken. Zoe was downgraded to a tropical depression early at the start of the new year, January 1, 2003, when it was located about 210 nautical miles (390 km) to the southwest of Nadi. Warnings were discontinued that day, as Zoe became extratropical.
Although Zoe never met large land masses, it did affect several inhabited islands which had a total population of around 1700.
The most severe damage wrought by Zoe took place on Tikopia which was completely decimated. Across Tikopia, no home was left standing after 12 m (39 ft) waves along with 320 km/h (200 mph) winds battered the small island. According to press reports, the island was faced with total devastation and all that remained was "just sand and debris." Five days after the storm struck, there were fears of substantial loss of life as no contact had been made with the hardest hit islands. A photographer who took images of the devastation from the air, stated that it would be a miracle if there was not a large loss of life.
On Anuta 90% of houses remained intact, and 70% of crops undamaged. Communication was lost with the island for a week. Vanuatu was inundated with seawater with villagers collecting fish from their village greens. No damage was reported on Fiji with a maximum sustained wind of 33 kn (61 km/h) at Yasawa, and a gust of 40 kn (74 km/h) at Nadi.
Within days of Zoe's passage, the government of the Solomon Islands declared the affected islands disaster zones. Relief supplies were sent from Honiara by January 5 and international aid followed shortly thereafter. Requests for assistance from New Zealand, Australia and France were made by the Solomon Islands. For nearly a week, residents on Tikopia survived without aid by drinking coconut milk and eating what remained of their food stocks. The first relief vessel finally arrived in the island on January 6, bringing medical supplies and food. Although the island's residents had no warning prior to Zoe's arrival, it was found that they took notice of natural warning signs and sought shelter in caves, resulting in no loss of life. Additional supplies were shipped to Anuta on January 6 by a local ship.
Supplies were delayed for days by Solomon Island police as they requested further pay before shipping supplies to the islands. Against the millions of dollars pledged by Australia, only $270,000 had been provided by January 4.
- ^ Joint Typhoon Warning Center (2002). "Tropical Cyclone 06P Warnings". Australian Severe Weather. http://australiasevereweather.com/cyclones/2003/zoe.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- ^ "Tropical Cyclone Warnings 24-12-02". Fiji Meteorological Service/Bureau of Meteorology. MT Archive. 2009-12-24. http://mtarchive.geol.iastate.edu/2002/12/24/text/Severe.24. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- ^ a b c d e f g Joint Typhoon Warning Center (2002). "Tropical Cyclone 06P Warnings". Australian Severe Weather. http://australiasevereweather.com/cyclones/2003/zoe.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- ^ "Tropical Cyclone Warnings 25-12-02". Fiji Meteorological Service/Bureau of Meteorology. MT Archive. 2009-12-25. http://mtarchive.geol.iastate.edu/2002/12/25/text/Severe.25. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
- ^ "Tropical Disturbance Advisory 26-12-02 06z". RSMC Nadi. ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2002/Dec/2002122606.WTPS11. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- ^ "Tropical Disturbance Advisory 27-12-02 06z". Fiji Meteorological Service/Bureau of Meteorology. MT Archive. ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2002/Dec/2002122706.WTPS11. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- ^ a b "Tropical Disturbance Advisory 27-12-02 12z". RSMC Nadi. http://mtarchive.geol.iastate.edu/2002/12/27/text/Severe.27. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- ^ "Tropical Disturbance Advisory 28-12-02 06z". RSMC Nadi. ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2002/Dec/2002122806.WTPS11. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- ^ ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2002/Dec/2002122906.WTPS11
- ^ ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2002/Dec/2002122918.WTPS11
- ^ ftp://ftp.met.fsu.edu/pub/weather/tropical/Fiji/2003/Jan/2003010100.WTPS11
- ^ a b Paul Champman (January 5, 2003). "How Zoe laid waste the island Garden of Eden". The Sun Herald.
- ^ Darren Gary (January 2, 2003). "Fears for 1300 islanders as 350 kmh winds hit Solomons". The Age.
- ^ a b "Help arrives at last for ruined isle". Sydney Morning Herald. January 6, 2003.
- ^ Tom Allard (January 4, 2003). "Second ship heads for cyclone-hit islands". Sydney Morning Herald.
- World Meteorological Organization
- Fiji Meteorological Service
- Meteorological Service of New Zealand
- Joint Typhoon Warning Center
- Geoff Mackley's report on Zoe
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— 900 hPa
North Indian OceanOrissa Cyclone (1999)
— 912 hPa
Northeast PacificHurricane Linda (1997)
— 902 hPa
South PacificCyclone Zoe (2002)
— 890 hPa
Southwest Indian OceanCyclone Gafilo (2004)
— 895 hPa
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— 882 hPa
Western PacificTyphoon Tip (1979)
— 870 hPa
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
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