As we gradually see the record-breaking hurricane season in the Atlantic come to an end, a new tropical season begins on the other side of the world in the Southern hemisphere.
Now located about 150 miles NW of Lautoka, Fiji, Tropical Cyclone Yasa has reached category 4 strength with maximum sustained winds reaching up to 155 mph (250 kph).
Over the next 24 hours, Yasa is expected track Southeast & make landfall in Vanua Levu–the main Northernmost island of Fiji. This storm will bring devastating impacts, in the form of extreme hurricane force winds (120 kph or higher), storm surge, extreme rainfall, & mudslides.
After making landfall, Yasa is expected to track due South & back out into the open waters of the South Pacific, gradually weakening back into a remnant tropical storm by Sunday morning.
Why is this storm called a “tropical cyclone”? And how is this storm different from a hurricane?
Physically, there’s no difference between this storm and any other hurricane we’d see in the Atlantic–they’re the same! The only reason in meteorology why different storms are given different prefixes is based on where they form. All of these storms are technically called “tropical cyclones” by us meteorologists. What first name the storm is given varies on the ocean & hemisphere in which the storm is located.
Also, how a tropical cyclone spins depends on the hemisphere. Because of a physics phenomenon called the Coriolis Effect, tropical cyclones in the Southern hemisphere spin clockwise– the opposite direction a hurricane would in the Northern hemisphere.