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Somerset Squall

Severe Tropical Cyclone Freda

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Tropical Cyclone 05P, the second of the South Pacific season 2012-13, has formed near the Solomon Islands, in the Coral Sea. Sustained winds are 35kts. 05P has some decent convection over the centre and strong banding surrounding it. 05P will likely intensify over the coming days as shear remains low and waters warm for at least the next 72hrs. Ridging to the east and troughing to the west of 05P will ensure a northerly steering flow, causing 05P to move southwards over the next several days. This will eventually take 05P over cool waters and into higher shear by day 4. Before that, JTWC estimate 05P will peak at 80kts.

sh0513.gif

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Now upgraded to Tropical Cyclone Freda by Fiji Met. Freda looks very impressive on satellite imagery, with excellent banding features.

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Freda continues to strengthen, and sustained winds are now at 55kts according to JTWC. The storm has a central dense overcast with the beginnings of an eye trying to form, and excellent banding wrapping healthily around the system. Freda is benifitting from excellent outflow, low shear and very warm sea temperatures. These factors suggest further intensification, perhaps rapid. JTWC expect a peak of 100kts prior to Freda reaching cooler water. Freda should continue tracking southwards along the western periphery of a ridge to the east, and then eventually move southeastwards as a trough approaches from Australia. This means Freda could be approacing New Caledonia by this coming Thursday, but the storm should be quickly weakening at this stage due to cooler waters and higher shear associated with the approaching trough.

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Freda has rapidly strengthened this afternoon, and now has sustained winds of 80kts. The eye has developed quite nicely now, and Freda should continue to deepen as it moves to the south over the coming days.

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Freda has been upgraded to a severe tropical cyclone by BOM. Sustained winds are now at 100kts according to JTWC, which is cat 3 on the SS scale. Further strengthening is expected.

post-1820-0-42776100-1356843026_thumb.jp

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Freda has strengthened slightly to 105kts. The severe cyclone has not changed much in appearance today, with a rather large and ragged eye still clear to see within the central dense overcast. Freda may strengthen a little more over the next day before reaching cooler waters and higher shear west of New Caledonia.

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Freda has weakened through the day. Winds have fallen to 80kts as shear rises over the cyclone. Freda will continue to weaken as it heads south into cooler water, and shear remains high. New Caledonia still needs to watch Freda as the cyclone gets very near to the country's southwest, but Freda should be a shadow of the beast she was by then.

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Shear has battered Freda through the day, exposing the LLC to view northwest of the remaining convection. Sustained winds have fallen to 40kts. Freda is producing heavy rains over New Caledonia presently.

The future for Freda is far from certain. What appears most likely at present is further weakening in the short term, with tracking towards the southeast. Ridging is expected to build in to Freda's south, forcing the weak cyclone towards the west to some degree. If this occurs, Freda may find itself in a lower shear environment in a few days time, and remain over marginally warm sea temps. This could allow for some slight re-strengthening. However, this idea depends highly on the westward turn materialising (it is still far from certain and there is a lot of model disagreement), and on Freda not dissipating in the high shear over the next day or two.

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JTWC issued their last warning on Freda yesterday but are mentioning the storm in their significant tropical weather advisory, classifying Freda as subtropical (they do not issue warnings on subtropical cyclones). Convection is far removed from the centre which is broad and ill defined. The convection resides southeast of New Caledonia, with the centre over New Caledonia itself, bringing gusty winds here. JTWC note that while Freda is currently subtropical, it is undergoing extratropical transition as the cyclone is accquiring frontal characteristics, and cold, dry air is wrapping around the system's current marginally warm core. They assess the chances of Freda becoming fully tropical again as low.

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Freda has been dropped from the outlook as the system has continued to slip southeast instead of turning the west, and has become extratropical. redevelopment is no longer anticipated.

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