Tropical Cyclone Oma to batter New Caledonia into midweek, New Zealand and Australia on alert
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 19, 2019, 11:25:01 AM EST
After battering parts of Vanuatu with heavy rain and gusty winds last week, Tropical Cyclone Oma will unleash dangerous weather on New Caledonia into Wednesday.
While a direct landfall did not occur, Oma will track just west and southwest of New Caledonia’s Grand Terre Island into Wednesday, bringing strong winds and torrential rainfall to western parts of the island.
Oma is currently a Category 3 tropical cyclone on the Fiji scale, with 10-minute sustained winds near 130 km/h (80 mph). This is equal to a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.
Wind gusts of 80-115 km/h (50-70 mph) can whip the northwestern tip of Grand Terre into Wednesday morning. Residents of Poum, Tiabet and Ouegoa should prepare for prolonged power outages.
While damaging winds are likely to be confined to far northwest New Caledonia, rainfall will be a more widespread impact of Oma on New Caledonia.
Rainfall of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) had already fallen across western parts of the island as of Tuesday evening with local amounts up to 250 mm (10 inches). A general 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) had fallen in central and eastern parts of the island.
Additional downpours are expected across the island into Wednesday morning.
Flooding and mudslides can be triggered, including along the streams and rivers that flow out of the mountains.
Oma will press southward through midweek, taking the storm to the southwest of New Caledonia and lessening impacts to the island by late Wednesday.
Despite Oma departing, boaters and swimmers should continue to avoid entering the water due to dangerously rough surf and rip currents.
Dangerously rough seas will be stirred across the waters surrounding New Caledonia on Wednesday and Thursday, continuing the risk for fishing and commercial vessels in area.
After threatening New Caledonia, Oma will shift its focus elsewhere and may bring significant impacts to New Zealand or Australia by this weekend.
One scenario is that Oma tracks westward later this week, targets the coast of southern Queensland and/or New South Wales in Australia around the weekend.
If Oma tracks near or into the coast of Australia it will be bring the risk for significant flooding and damaging winds.
Another possibility is that Oma may stall off the coast, causing rough surf but bringing little or no rainfall to Australia.
In addition to the risk for rough surf there will be an elevated risk for coastal flooding due to onshore flow and ongoing King Tides.
Another scenario is that Oma tracks southward and loses its tropical characteristics but still targets New Zealand with heavy rain and strong winds this weekend.
Widespread travel disruptions along with the risk for localized flooding and power outages will be possible if this occurs.
Anyone with interest in New Zealand, Queensland or New South Wales, should closely monitor the track of Oma in the coming days.
Download the free AccuWeather app for the latest information on Oma and to remain alert of any hazardous weather expected in your area.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 1:42:56 PM EDT
Satellite imagery captured a view of sediment flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the floodwaters in the Midwest.
Australia faces a dual severe tropical cyclone strike as Trevor moves inland across the Northern Territory
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:42:45 AM EDT
As Veronica threatens to cause a flood disaster in northwestern Australia, the dangers to lives and property are expected to expand well inland from where Severe Tropical Cyclone Trevor made landfall on Australia's Northern Territory early this weekend.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:19:24 AM EDT
The chill that descended upon the northeastern U.S. this past weekend will be reinforced early this week, but relief is on the horizon.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:18:16 AM EDT
Showers and thunderstorms that may disrupt travel, dampen outdoor plans and become locally heavy and gusty will sweep through the southern United States early next week.
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 3:21:07 PM EDT
A lunar rainbow, one of the rarest types of rainbows, appeared during the super worm moon earlier this week.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 10:34:46 AM EDT
The colorful festival of Holi celebrated by the Hindu community marks the beginning of spring.
In case you missed it: Pence assures Midwest flood victims as damage tops $1 billion; 50,000 visitors overtake California town to see vibrant superbloom
Weather News - March 22, 2019, 11:39:12 AM EDT
Flooding in the Midwest has put entire towns underwater and forced thousands to abandon their homes while a cyclone in southern Africa became one of the worst natural disasters to hit the region in decades.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica to inundate Australia's Pilbara Coast with life-threatening flooding
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 11:41:21 AM EDT
Lives and property will be in severe peril through early this week along the northwestern coastline of Western Australia as Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica slows down and unloads extreme rainfall.