Cyclone Nigel

Severe Tropical Cyclone Nigel was the second of two tropical cyclones to affect Northern Vanuatu and the Fijian islands during January 1985. The system was first noted as an ill-defined low-pressure area ("low") located within the Intertropical Convergence Zone near the Cape York Peninsula. Over the next few days the low moved eastwards and increased in strength; it was named Nigel on January 16 as it developed into a tropical cyclone.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Nigel
Category 3 severe tropical cyclone (Aus scale)
Category 3 tropical cyclone (SSHWS)
Nigel Jan 19 1985 0310Z.png
Cyclone Nigel on January 19, 1985
FormedJanuary 14, 1985
DissipatedJanuary 20, 1985
Highest winds10-minute sustained: 150 km/h (90 mph)
1-minute sustained: 195 km/h (120 mph)
Lowest pressure955 hPa (mbar); 28.2 inHg
Fatalities25
Damage$40 million (1985 USD)
Areas affectedVanuatu, Fiji
Part of the 1984–85 Australian region and the South Pacific cyclone seasons

Meteorological historyEdit

 
Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
  Unknown
Storm type
  Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression

Severe Tropical Cyclone Nigel was first noted as an ill-defined low, located within the Intertropical Convergence Zone near the Cape York Peninsula during January 1985.[1] Over the next several days, the system gradually moved eastwards into the Coral Sea, before the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) reported that a recognizable circulation had developed during January 14.[1] Over the next two days, the low moved eastwards and slowly developed further, before the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) initiated advisories on the system and designated it as Tropical Cyclone 13P early on January 16.[1][2] Later that day the BoM named the system Nigel as it became equivalent to a modern-day category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian tropical cyclone intensity scale and moved out of the Australian region into the South Pacific basin.[1] By this time, the JTWC were reporting that Nigel, had become equivalent to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale.[3] During January 17, Nigel developed an eye and became equivalent to a category 3 severe tropical cyclone, before it passed very near to or over various northern Vanuatuan islands, including Espiritu Santo.[4][5]

During January 18, Nigel's eyewall started to appear on Nadi airports surveillance radar, as it had started to move south-eastwards towards Fiji.[4] Early the next day the JTWC estimated that Nigel had peaked with 1-minute sustained wind speeds of 195 km/h (120 mph), which made it equivalent to a category 3 hurricane on the SSHWS.[5] At around the same time, it was estimated that Nigel had peaked with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 150 km/h (95 mph), which made it equivalent to a category 3 severe tropical cyclone on the Australian scale.[5] During January 19, as the system moved closer towards Nadi its eye became more distinct on the radar, which showed that Nigel had started to slowly weaken, possibly due to strong vertical wind shear and dry air driven up from higher latitudes by Cyclone Eric.[4] Later that day at around 04:00 UTC (16:00 FST), the system passed near Fiji's southern Yasawa Islands and northern Mamanuca Islands.[4] The centre of Nigel's eye subsequently made landfall on Fiji's largest island Viti Levu about an hour later, while equivalent to a category 3 severe tropical cyclone.[4][5] As Nigel moved inland it rapidly weakened due to frictional forces and became equivalent to a category 1 tropical cyclone on the Australian scale.[4] The system subsequently emerged into the Pacific Ocean later that day, before it passed through the Tongan Islands and to the south of Niue during January 20.[5] Nigel weakened below tropical cyclone intensity during January 22, before it was last noted during January 28, while located about 800 km (495 mi) to the north of Auckland, New Zealand.[5]

Preparations and impactEdit

VanuatuEdit

Cyclone Nigel was the second of three tropical cyclones to affect Vanuatu within a week, and the second of five tropical cyclones to impact Vanuatu in 1985.[6] Nigel affected the islands of Espiritu Santo, Ambae, Maewo and Pentecost between January 17 and 18, and was thought to have caused more damage than Cyclone Eric.[4][7] As the system passed near the weather station on Espiritu Santo, an anemometer was destroyed as it recorded a wind gust of 157 km/h (98 mph), while a minimum pressure of 987.9 hPa (29.17 inHg) was also recorded.[4][6]

After assessing the damage and finding thousands of people homeless, the Government of Vanuatu established a disaster relief and reconstruction fund.[8]

The Government of Vanuatu asked the Australian Government for emergency food aid and other emergency humanitarian relief assistance including shelters and sanitation equipment.[9] Australia flew in four survey teams by helicopter and sent six C-130 plane loads of humanitarian assistance which included plastic sheeting, ropes, medical supplies, clothing and rice.[8][10] UNDRO and the governments of the UK and the USA donated money to the Vanuatuan Government, while France donated a cargo of food that was flown in from Nouméa, New Caledonia.[8]

FijiEdit

Nigel was the second of two severe tropical cyclones to make landfall on the Fijian Island of Viti Levu within 36 hours, and the second of four tropical cyclones to impact Fiji in 1985.[11][12] Ahead of the system making landfall, relief efforts for Cyclone Eric, which had hit the same region just two days earlier, had to be suspended.[13] As the system affected Fiji, around 1000 people took shelter in the Nadi International Airport passenger terminal.[14]

Once Nigel left Fiji, on January 19, the relief effort from Cyclone Eric was resumed with ships sent to the outer islands to assess the damage.[14] 272 tourists were flown back to Melbourne Airport during January 21, after they had been through both systems.[15] The following day the Fijian Government outlined their long-term rehabilitation needs and requested international assistance from the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization and various countries.[10][13] These needs included a six-month food-rationing project for 10,000 households, a rehabilitation program for 10,000 shelters and improved internal communication including between the FMS in Nadi and the capital city Suva.[13] Australia donated $100,000 to the Fijian Prime Ministers Relief Fund in order to provide food to those who needed it.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Kuuse J (1985). "The Australian tropical cyclone season 1984–85" (PDF). Australian Meteorological Magazine. Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 33: 133–136. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 23, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Annual Tropical Cyclone Report: 1985 (PDF) (Report). Vol. 33. United States Navy, United States Airforce. pp. 138, 246. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Joint Typhoon Warning Center (January 19, 2012). "Tropical Cyclone 13P (Nigel) best track analysis". United States Navy, United States Air Force. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h DeAngellis, Richard M, ed. (1985). Hurricane Alley: Tropical Cyclones — January 1985 (Mariners Weather Log: Volume 29: Issue 3: Summer 1985). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. pp. 170–174. hdl:2027/mdp.39015011139428. ISSN 0025-3367. OCLC 648466886.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "1985 Tropical Cyclone Nigel (1985014S16151)". International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Tropical cyclones in Vanuatu: 1847 to 1994 (PDF) (Report). Vanuatu Meteorological Service. May 19, 1994. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  7. ^ Vanautu — Cyclonic Storms (Pacific Region): Situation Report 4 (UNDRO 85/0303). United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. February 7, 1985. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Vanuatu — Cyclones (PDF) (Disaster Case Report). United States Agency for International Development. 1985. pp. 1–2. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  9. ^ Fiji — Cyclonic Storms (Pacific Region): Information Report 3 (UNDRO 85/0155). United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. January 20, 1985. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Fiji — Cyclonic Storms (Pacific Region): Situation Report 1 (UNDRO 85/0164). United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. January 22, 1985. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Thousands left homeless, 23 dead after cyclones". The Canberra Times. 22 January 1985. p. 5. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ Mcgree, Simon; Yeo, Stephen W; Devi, Swastika (December 16, 2010). Flooding in the Fiji Islands between 1840 - 2009 (PDF) (Report). Risk Frontiers. p. 33. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Fiji — Cyclones (PDF) (Disaster Case Report). United States Agency for International Development. 1985. pp. 1–7. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Second hurricane lashes Fiji". Star News. Associated Press. January 21, 1985. p. 5. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "Melbourne Paradise After Fiji Cyclones". The Sydney Morning Herald. The Associated Press. January 22, 1985. p. 5. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  16. ^ "IN Brief: Fijian Aid". The Canberra Times. 23 January 1985. p. 3. Retrieved 3 February 2015 – via National Library of Australia.

External linksEdit