Cyclone Cook is nearing landfall in New Caledonia today threatening to bring damaging winds, storm surge and flooding rains across the French Southern Pacific Island through Monday in to Tuesday.
As of Monday morning the well defined eye of the storm is clearly visible on radar nearing the island. Max winds at landfall could be up to Category 4 on the Fiji scale or a 1-2 of the Saffir Simpson scale used the in Atlantic. This is enough to down trees, knock out power and create a coastal storm surge that could flood low lying homes where winds are coming on shore in the right front of the storm.
Noumea a city of about 100,000 people and the capital of New Caledonia is right in the storms path, good news is located on the west side of the island providing a little cover from. The east coast is much more rural but still towns like Thio and St. Phillipe II directly across the island from Noumea will take the brunt of Cook.
The mountains of New Caledonia are high are rise sharply out of the ocean. This enhance rain showers as moisture comes on shore triggering the threat of heavy rains and flooding. Over 200mm is possible in the heavier bands of rain. Across the mountains mudslides is also concern.
New Caledonia should see the storm pass by Tuesday afternoon, this is when we will be changing out attention towards New Zealand. The north edge of the North Island was severely hit by floods last week due to the remnants of Cyclone Debbie over the area. With the grounds already saturated and rivers above average levels another slow moving rain maker over the area could deal a fairly harsh blow to New Zealand.
I will post more information on the New Zealand threat later this week, for now all eyes are on New Caledonia.