Tropical Cyclones
Main Index Home Page Stock Weather Photos Australian Severe Weather Forum Storm News and Storm Chasing Reports Tropical Cyclones / Hurricanes / Typhoons Weather Data and Links Wild Fires / Bushfires Weather Observation Techniques Weather Picture Catalogue Tornado Pictures and Reports Stock Video Footage and DVDs for sale
Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary March 2002
[Summaries and Track Data] [Prepared by Gary Padgett]

                                MARCH, 2002

  (For general comments about the nature of these summaries, as well as
  information on how to download the tabular cyclone track files, see
  the Author's Note at the end of this summary.)


                             MARCH HIGHLIGHTS
  --> Very intense tropical cyclone brushes Madagascar
  --> First Northwest Pacific March super typhoon on record forms
  --> Very quiet month in Australian Region


               ***** Feature of the Month for March *****

          Tables of Monthly Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (NTC)

     The idea for these tables originated with Eric Blake's tropical 
  cyclone forecast for the month of August, 2000, included in the 
  August update to the CSU 2000 Atlantic seasonal forecast.   Eric 
  made reference to the percentage of the total NTC which was normally
  contributed by the month of August, so I became interested in 
  calculating such a figure for all the months for the Atlantic and 
  Northeast Pacific (NEP) basins.  (NOTE:  I included these same tables
  as a Feature of the Month in the March, 2001 summary.   Here I have
  just updated them through 2001, primarily to reflect the abnormally
  active latter two months of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season.)

     In the discussion and in the tables, the following abbreviations
  are used.  These are the same ones used by Dr. Bill Gray and the
  CSU forecast team, and the complete definitions can be found on
  the CSU website in any of the Atlantic seasonal forecasts archived

     NS  - named storm (MSW > 33 kts, whether actually named or not)
     H   - hurricane (MSW > 63 kts)
     IH  - intense hurricane (MSW > 95 kts)
     NSD - named storm day
     HD  - hurricane day
     IHD - intense hurricane day
     NTC - net tropical cyclone activity (avg of other 6 parameters)

     For the Atlantic statistics I used the period 1950-2001.  Even 
  though aerial reconnaissance of Atlantic cyclones began in 1944, 
  I began with 1950 since that year is the beginning point of Dr. Gray's
  and the CSU forecast team's NTC calculations.    For the NEP basin I 
  utilized the period 1971-2001.    Extensive aerial reconnaissance of 
  these cyclones was performed during the 1971-1973 seasons before 
  being curtailed following the Arab oil embargo of late 1973.  By 1974
  the first edition of the Dvorak method had been developed and was
  beginning to be used, so the MSW values can be considered somewhat
  reliable from that point onward.

     Calculating overall seasonal statistics for a tropical cyclone
  basin presents no problem, but when dissecting a season temporally
  some decisions have to be made.   Some definitions and procedures I
  followed include:
  (1) A month was defined as beginning at 0000Z on the 1st day of the 
  month and ending at 1800Z on the final day of the month.

  (2) The "days" parameters (NSD, HD, IHD) were accumulated for each 
  exact month per the definition in (1) above.  A given storm or 
  hurricane day was counted in only one month--the month of origin had 
  no bearing on these parameters.

  (3) The other main issue was how to count intermonthly cyclones for 
  the NS, H, and IH tallies.  I decided that a given storm/category 
  should count in only one month; i.e., when the monthly totals are 
  added up, they should equal the totals for the season.  For the NS 
  parameter a storm is counted in the month in which winds initially 
  reached 34 kts (or higher) and the storm type was tropical.  A
  similar procedure was used for the H and IH parameters.  Admittedly
  this can lead to some unusual-looking statistics at times.   For
  instance, Major Hurricane Keith of 2000 was named on 29 September,
  reached hurricane intensity on 30 September, and winds reached 100 kts
  at 0000Z on 1 October.  Therefore, Keith is counted as a September
  NS and H, but as an October IH.   Similarly, Major Hurricane Opal of
  1995 is counted as a September NS, but as an October H and IH.
  Northeast Pacific Hurricane Ekeka in 1992 is counted as a January NS
  and H but as a February IH.     Since no other tropical cyclones
  occurred in February during the period under consideration, February
  is shown as having no NS or H but one IH.   Similarly, in the Atlantic
  basin, no cyclones began in January, but the month nonetheless has
  some NTC due to Hurricane Alice, which originated and reached
  hurricane intensity in December, 1954, but remained active until
  5 January, 1955.

     Another issue which needed to be addressed was the well-known
  upward bias in Best Track MSW values for the Atlantic basin prior to
  around 1970.   Following the rule which Chris Landsea gave me years
  ago, for the years 1950-1970, any MSW value of 100-115 kts was reduced
  by 5 kts.   Any MSW value of 120 kts or greater was reduced by 10 kts.
  However, there were a few cases where I excepted this rule based upon
  normal maximum wind/minimum pressure relationships--Carol of 1953,
  Janet of 1955, Hattie of 1961, Camille of 1969--to name a few.  Also,
  I upped the MSW for Hurricanes Daisy and Helene of 1958 based upon the
  central pressures and the MSW as given by Dunn & Miller in _Atlantic 
  Hurricanes_.  It should be mentioned that there are quite likely some
  MSW biases in the NEP Best Track file, but I did not attempt to correct
  any of these as I had no guidance for doing so. 

     One final item--the various statistics for the NEP basin include 
  all systems which reached the various intensity levels east of
  longitude 180, but the "days" parameters are accumulated only for the
  time which a given system spent east of 180.  A system which began east
  of 180 but reached H or IH intensity west of 180 is counted only as a
  NS (e.g., Paka of 1997).  This is just my preference--there are other
  methodologies which are equally valid.     The Central North Pacific
  (CNP) between 140W and 180 has such a low incidence of tropical cyclone
  activity, especially formations, that it is difficult to consider it as
  a separate basin.   A majority of the NTC in the CNP is generated by
  storms originating east of 140W, and while most tropical cyclones
  originating in the CNP do not affect Hawaii, the two destructive
  Hawaiian hurricanes of the past three decades (Iwa and Iniki) reached
  tropical storm intensity in the CNP and shouldn't be ignored.  On the
  other hand, I did not want to skew NEP basin statistics by including
  the NWP portions of such storms as Ruby of 1972 and Oliwa and Paka of
  1997 which formed just east of the Dateline but went on to become long-
  lived and/or very intense typhoons in the NWP basin.

                     Atlantic Basin Monthly NTC Table

  Month    NS      H       IH       NSD       HD       IHD      NTC
  JAN       0      0        0       4.50     3.50      0.00     0.07
  FEB       1      0        0       1.50     0.00      0.00     0.04
  MAR       0      0        0       0.00     0.00      0.00     0.00
  APR       0      0        0       0.00     0.00      0.00     0.00
  MAY       5      2        0      18.50     6.25      0.00     0.47
  JUN      27     10        2      72.25    13.25      0.75     2.39
  JUL      41     17        1     121.25    32.25      0.50     3.64
  AUG     138     79       30     613.50   296.50     63.25    24.80
  SEP     177    125       65    1134.50   643.50    155.25    47.15
  OCT      87     57       17     464.25   229.50     39.00    16.76
  NOV      27     20        4     126.75    46.00      6.25     4.33
  DEC       3      2        0      12.75     3.75      0.00     0.34

  TOTAL   506    312      119    2569.75  1274.50    265.00

  AVG    9.73   6.00     2.29      49.42    24.51      5.10

                 Northeast Pacific Basin Monthly NTC Table

  Month    NS      H       IH       NSD       HD       IHD      NTC
  JAN       1      1        0       3.25     2.00      0.00     0.15
  FEB       0      0        1       3.00     2.25      0.50     0.21
  MAR       1      0        0       1.00     0.00      0.00     0.04
  APR       0      0        0       0.00     0.00      0.00     0.00
  MAY      15      8        1      49.75    14.00      2.25     1.80
  JUN      67     36       14     249.25    93.25     26.00    10.87
  JUL     117     63       35     511.50   228.50     72.00    23.51
  AUG     122     74       34     643.25   258.75     58.99    24.78
  SEP     111     69       35     537.75   259.75     77.00    24.67
  OCT      61     35       19     288.00   132.75     39.00    12.94
  NOV      11      3        0      31.00     5.75      0.00     0.85
  DEC       2      1        0       7.50     1.00      0.00     0.19
  TOTAL   508    290      139    2325.25   998.00    274.75

  AVG   16.39   9.35     4.48      75.01    32.19      8.86

     The differences between the two basins in the seasonal pattern of
  activity are striking.  The Atlantic season is sharply-peaked with
  almost half of the NTC occurring in the month of September alone; the
  three-month period of August through October accounts for almost 90%
  of the annual NTC.  By way of contrast, the Northeast Pacific basin's
  seasonal pattern of activity does not reach such a sharp peak, but
  exhibits a plauteauing of NTC over the months of July, August, and
  September with each month contributing about 25% of the annual NTC.
  June and October make up the majority of the remaining amount.

     One interesting and somewhat surprising fact apparent in the
  Atlantic NTC table is that November has a higher level of activity
  than July.  November lags behind July in number of named storms, the
  parameter usually used to judge activity, but has (at least in recent
  decades) seen considerably more hurricane and intense hurricane
  activity.  Atlantic intense hurricanes are almost always confined to
  the peak months of August, September and October, the only exceptions
  during the previous half-century being:

  June     - Audrey (1957), Alma (1966)
  July     - Bertha (1996)
  November - Greta (1956), Kate (1985), Lenny (1999), Michelle (2001)

  NOTE:  As time permits I plan to try to work up similar NTC tables for
  the other tropical cyclone basins, so stay tuned.

                            ACTIVITY BY BASINS

  ATLANTIC (ATL) - North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico

  Activity for March:  No tropical cyclones


  NORTHEAST PACIFIC (NEP) - North Pacific Ocean East of Longitude 180

  Activity for March:  No tropical cyclones


  NORTHWEST PACIFIC (NWP) - North Pacific Ocean West of Longitude 180

  Activity for March:  1 tropical depression 
                       1 super typhoon

                        Sources of Information

     Most of the information presented below is based upon tropical
  cyclone warnings and significant tropical weather outlooks issued
  by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center of the U. S. Air Force and
  Navy (JTWC), located at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.   In the companion
  tropical cyclone tracks file, I normally annotate track coordinates
  from some of the various Asian warning centers when their center
  positions differ from JTWC's by usually 40-50 nm or more.   All
  references to sustained winds imply a 1-minute averaging period
  unless otherwise noted.

     Michael V. Padua of Naga City in the Philippines, owner of the
  Typhoon 2000 website, normally sends me cyclone tracks based upon
  warnings issued by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the
  Philippines' Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services
  Administration (PAGASA).  Also, Huang Chunliang of Fuzhou City, China,
  sends me each month tracks obtained from warnings issued by the
  National Meteorological Center of China (NMCC), the Central Weather
  Bureau of Taiwan (CWBT) and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO).  A very
  special thanks to Michael and Chunliang for the assistance they so
  reliably provide.

     In the title line for each storm I have referenced all the cyclone
  names/numbers I have available:   JTWC's depression number, the 
  JMA-assigned name (if any), JMA's tropical storm numeric designator,
  and PAGASA's name for systems forming in or passing through their
  area of warning responsibility.

                 Northwest Pacific Tropical Activity for March

     A tropical depression which formed in late February west-southwest of
  Pohnpei intensified and was christened Tropical Storm Mitag on the final
  day of the month.  Mitag subsequently strengthened into a typhoon, passed
  very near Yap, then strengthened into a super typhoon as it recurved a
  few hundred miles east of the Philippines--the first super typhoon on
  record for the month of March, at least dating back to 1959.

     The only other system during the month was Tropical Depression 03W,
  which was named Caloy by PAGASA (a nickname for 'Carlos').  Like so many
  tropical cyclones in recent months in both hemispheres, this system
  formed at a very low latitude--well south of 10N.  The first JTWC warning
  on TD-03W, issued at 1200 UTC on 19 March, placed the center about 70 nm
  west-southwest of Palau, or approximately 500 nm east-southeast of the
  city of Surigao on the northern tip of Mindanao.  TD-03W/Caloy moved
  westward toward Mindanao.  As it approached the island on the 21st, the
  center turned toward the west-northwest, crossing Mindanao and the
  islands of Bohol, Cebu, Negros and Panay before traversing the Sulu Sea
  and clipping the northern tip of Palawan as it exited into the South
  China Sea.  After crossing the Philippine Archipelago, TD-03W/Caloy
  meandered generally west-northwestward across the South China Sea,
  weakening and dissipating off the Vietnamese coast about 330 nm east-
  southeast of Hue City by 25/1200 UTC.

     Heavy rains from the depression were responsible for damage and some
  fatalities on Mindanao.  A press report forwarded to me by Michael V.
  Padua states that 28 persons were killed with two others reported miss-
  ing in the two Surigao Provinces.  The worst-hit area was Surigao del
  Sur where the majority of the fatalities, mostly minors, occurred.  Most
  died from drowning, or were buried alive in a landslide in Barangay Libus
  Sud in the town of San Miguel.  More than 50,000 people in the two
  Surigao Provinces were displaced by flash floods.    Damage to infra-
  structure, agriculture, fisheries and livestock amounted to more than
  90 million pesos ($1.764 million US).  (The above information was taken
  from an article by Mr. Ben Serrano which appeared in the Philippine Daily
  Inquirer on 28 March 2002--thanks to Michael for sending it to me.)

                            SUPER TYPHOON MITAG
                       (TC-02W / TY 0202 / Basyang)
                           26 February - 8 March

  Mitag: contributed by the Federated States of Micronesia, is a Yapese
         woman's name meaning "my eyes"

  A. Storm Origins

     A weak LLCC developed just south of Pohnpei on 25 February.  A STWO
  issued by JTWC at 1200 UTC noted that a recent QuikScat pass had revealed
  a weak LLCC embedded in a broad trough with poorly-organized convection.
  The LOW was situated beneath weak diffluent flow aloft in a region of
  moderate vertical shear.  The system continued to drift westward and by
  0600 UTC on the 26th was located approximately 260 nm south-southwest of
  Pohnpei.  Convection had increased in organization near the LLCC so JTWC
  upgraded the development potential to fair.   A TCFA was issued at 1430
  UTC and the first warning on Tropical Depression 02W was issued at 1800
  UTC.  The depression's center was located approximately 155 nm west-
  southwest of Pohnpei--a relocation to the north from the position at
  0600 UTC--and moving west-northwestward at 4 kts.

     JTWC upgraded the depression to tropical storm status on the third
  warning, issued at 27/0600 UTC, based on CI estimates of 25 and 30 kts
  and some synoptic data.   Tropical Storm 02W was then centered about
  200 nm east-southeast of Chuuk, moving slowly west-northwestward as it
  was steered by a low to mid-level ridge to the north.  A 27/0948 UTC
  SSM/I pass indicated that the center was partially-exposed with the deep
  convection sheared west of the LLCC.  The cyclone continued trekking in
  the general direction of Chuuk with little change in intensity for the
  next 24 hours.  By 1200 UTC on 28 February the center was located only
  around 15-20 nm southeast of Chuuk, moving westward at 11 kts, and CI
  estimates had risen to 35 and 45 kts.  JTWC upped the MSW to 40 kts, and
  JMA and NMCC both upgraded the system to tropical storm status with JMA
  assigning the name Mitag.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     At 28/1800 UTC Tropical Storm Mitag was located about 525 nm southeast
  of Guam, moving westward at 9 kts with an estimated MSW of 45 kts.  The
  cyclone continued its westward motion on 1 March, steered by the mid-
  level ridge in the Philippine Sea along latitude 19N.   JTWC upgraded
  Mitag to a 70-kt typhoon at 0600 UTC based on CI estimates of 65 kts.
  The storm had earlier been undergoing some easterly shear, but a tightly-
  curved banding feature had become evident in satellite imagery, accom-
  panied by cycling bursts of deep convection.  By 1800 UTC Typhoon Mitag
  had reached a point 395 nm south of Guam, still tracking westward at
  15 kts with the MSW pegged at 70 kts.  At 0600 UTC on 2 March the storm
  was located roughly 300 nm east-southeast of Yap and had turned to more
  of a west-northwesterly heading.   JTWC bumped up the intensity to 75 kts
  while JMA and NMCC upgraded Mitag to typhoon status.   A developing band-
  ing eye feature had become evident by 1200 UTC, and at 1800 UTC, JTWC
  increased the intensity to 100 kts.   Typhoon Mitag at 1800 UTC was cen-
  tered about 95 nm southeast of Yap and was moving west-northwestward at
  a rather quick 17 kts.

     The eye of Mitag passed a short distance to the south of Yap late on
  2 March (UTC) and at 0000 UTC on the 3rd was centered about 40 nm south-
  southwest of the island.  A 02/2337 UTC SSM/I pass depicted a large round
  eye 60 nm in diameter while water vapor imagery showed excellent outflow
  in all quadrants.  Synoptic observations from Yap indicated 30-kt sus-
  tained surface winds with 76-kt easterly winds at an elevation of 300 m.
  Mitag's intensity fluctuated somewhat on the 3rd but remained near
  100 kts, based on CI estimates of 90 and 102 kts.  JTWC increased the
  MSW slightly to 105 kts at 1800 UTC with the typhoon centered about
  480 nm east-northeast of the island of Mindanao, still moving west-
  northwestward.  As the 4th progressed the western extension of the
  ridge to the north of Mitag eroded, resulting in a more northwesterly
  track.  JTWC upped the estimated MSW to 115 kts at 04/0000 UTC, based
  on CI estimates of 115 kts.  Visible animation depicted an irregular
  eye 29 nm in diameter with colder cloud tops located over the western
  quadrant.  At 1200 UTC Typhoon Mitag was located approximately 370 nm
  east of Samar island, moving northwestward at 7 kts.  A 04/0929 UTC SSM/I
  pass revealed that an eyewall replacement cycle was nearing completion
  with bands of deep convection surrounding the eye.  By 1800 UTC the
  system was approaching the upper-level ridge axis, and one CI estimate
  had reached 127 kts, although the MSW remained at 115 kts for the 1800
  UTC warning.  JMA's 10-min avg MSW at the time was 85 kts while NMCC's
  estimate was 100 kts.

     Around 0000 UTC on 5 March it appeared that Mitag had peaked at
  115 kts and would likely slowly weaken.  The JTWC warning for 05/0000 UTC
  indicated that the system was beginning to experience some shear as it
  entered upper-level westerlies to the north.  However, by 0600 UTC Dvorak
  estimates had reached T7.0 and JTWC correspondingly upped the MSW to
  140 kts, making Mitag the first March super typhoon on record.   The
  storm was located about 330 nm east of Catanduanes Island at the time
  and had turned to a northward course.  NMCC and JMA increased their
  10-min avg MSW estimates to the peak values of 110 kts and 95 kts, res-
  pectively, at 0600 UTC (with PAGASA following suit at 1200 UTC).  The
  minimum central pressure for Mitag was estimated at 930 mb by JMA.   It
  appears that the reason for Mitag's unexpected intensification was that
  the upper-level southwesterlies which had initially begun to impinge on
  the storm retreated somewhat to the north, thereby enhancing the
  typhoon's poleward outflow channel.  A SSM/I pass around 1200 UTC
  revealed a 25-nm diameter eye surrounded by a solid ring of deep convec-
  tion.  At its peak Super Typhoon Mitag was a fairly large typhoon.  Gales
  extended outward from the center 200 nm in the northern semicircle and
  160 nm to the south, while the radius of storm-force winds was estimated
  at 70 nm.

     Mitag began to slowly weaken on the 6th.  JTWC decreased the MSW to
  130 kts at 0000 UTC, and to 125 kts at 0600 UTC.  The typhoon was then
  located about 375 nm east-northeast of Catanduanes Island, moving north-
  northeastward at 7 kts.  A low to mid-level ridge east of the storm was
  still the primary steering influence, but was receding and Mitag was
  becoming embedded in strong mid-level westerlies associated with an
  approaching mid-latitude trough.   Satellite CI estimates were still
  127 kts at 1800 UTC, but JTWC dropped the intensity to 115 kts in antici-
  pation of rapid weakening as the storm entered a region of strong vert-
  ical shear.   Typhoon Mitag did begin to weaken rapidly on 7 March.  From
  06/1800 UTC to 07/1800 UTC, the estimated MSW fell from 115 kts to
  55 kts, and 24 hours later the storm had dissipated.

     Mitag was moving east-northeastward at 9 kts at 0000 UTC on 7 March
  with winds down to 95 kts.  The storm continued to quickly weaken and
  at 1800 UTC, JTWC downgraded Mitag to a 55-kt tropical storm located
  about 515 nm southwest of Iwo Jima.  The storm's motion had become more
  easterly during the day, and the system was forecast to turn sharply to
  the south in response to strong monsoon northeasterlies associated with
  a high-pressure system located over the East China Sea.  By 08/0000 UTC
  Mitag's center was fully-exposed with remaining deep convection sheared
  90 nm to the northeast.  JTWC issued the final warning on Mitag at 0600
  UTC, downgrading it to a 25-kt depression.  The dying storm was centered
  approximately 150 nm south of Parece Vela Island in the Philippine Sea,
  moving southward at 6 kts.  The LLCC was completely decoupled from the
  upper-levels and was located roughly 125 nm southwest of the remaining
  deep convection.  Cool, drier air had entered the system, leading to
  further weakening.  JMA was still classifying Mitag as a 40-kt tropical
  storm at this point, likely due to a recent QuikScat pass which had indi-
  cated some gales in the northwest quadrant associated with the monsoon
  surge.  However, six hours later JMA downgraded Mitag to a depression and
  discontinued bulletins.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     During Mitag's pre-typhoon and early typhoon stages, and during the
  rapid decay phase, intensity estimates from the various warning centers
  agreed rather well after conversion to the same time averaging period.
  JTWC's intensity of 100 kts on the 2nd and 3rd as the storm passed Yap
  is somewhat above the equivalent 1-min avg MSW implied by JMA's and
  NMCC's 10-min avg MSW estimates.  During the time of Mitag's peak inten-
  sity on 5 March, NMCC's maximum 10-min avg MSW of 110 kts was reasonably
  close to JTWC's peak of 140 kts.   JMA's and PAGASA's peak intensity
  estimates of 95 kts, however, are well under JTWC's peak, being equiv-
  alent to a 1-min avg MSW of about 110 kts.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     No deaths or serious injuries were reported on Yap, but destructive
  winds and a tidal surge destroyed nearly all the food crops in low-lying
  areas in the northern, northeastern, and southern parts of Yap Main
  Island up to 400-500 metres inland.  The tidal surge put many low-lying
  areas, including parts of the main town of Colonia, under water for
  several hours.  Rumung Island, just off the northern part of Yap Main
  Island, as well as the nearby atolls of Ifalik, Woleai, and Eauripik
  were also reported to have sustained major damage.  Many power lines were
  downed and damage was reported to public facilities and roads.  Some
  150-200 persons lost their homes, and private property including boats,
  vehicles, and merchandise in stores was destroyed.  No monetary estimate
  of the damage was available.  (The information in this paragraph was
  gleaned from a report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
  Affairs located on the following website:>.)


  NORTH INDIAN OCEAN (NIO) - Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea

  Activity for March:  No tropical cyclones


  SOUTHWEST INDIAN OCEAN (SWI) - South Indian Ocean West of Longitude 90E

  Activity for March:  1 intense tropical cyclone
                       1 very intense tropical cyclone

                         Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  Southwest Indian Ocean tropical cyclones are the warnings issued by
  the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre on La Reunion Island, part of
  Meteo France (MFR), and the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre
  for the basin.    However, tropical cyclones in this region are named 
  by the sub-regional warning centres on Mauritius and Madagascar with
  longitude 55E being the demarcation line between their respective
  areas of warning responsibility.  The La Reunion centre only advises
  these agencies regarding the intensity of tropical systems.  References
  to sustained winds imply a 10-minute averaging period unless otherwise

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from MFR's coordinates by usually
  40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings are also the source of the
  1-minute average maximum sustained wind values included in the
  tracks file.    Additionally, information describing details of
  satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation features included in
  the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC warnings.

              Southwest Indian Ocean Tropical Activity for March

     The trend for intense tropical cyclones in the Southwest Indian Ocean
  during the current season continued in March.  The most intense cyclone
  of the season, Hary, formed southwest of Diego Garcia, moved westward,
  then curved to the south, brushing the northeastern coastline of Mada-
  gascar before recurving to the southeast.  Hary was near its peak inten-
  sity of 120 kts (10-min avg MSW from La Reunion) as it approached the
  coast.  JTWC also reported their peak 1-min avg MSW of 140 kts at the
  same time.   Later in the month Tropical Cyclone Ikala formed well east
  of Diego Garcia and remained in the eastern portion of the basin.  Ikala
  briefly reached intense tropical cyclone status (10-min avg MSW greater
  than or equal to 90 kts) on the 27th before weakening rapidly as it moved
  into higher latitudes.

                           TROPICAL CYCLONE HARY
                             (MFR 11 / TC-18S)
                                5 - 15 March

  A. Storm Origins

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 0800 UTC on 2 March indicated that an area of
  convection had developed approximately 510 nm west-southwest of Diego
  Garcia.  Deep convection was cycling in intensity, and the disturbance
  was situated beneath diffluent flow with an upper-level trough located to
  the east-southeast.  The potential for developing into a significant
  tropical cyclone was assessed to be fair.  However, by 1800 UTC a Quik-
  Scat pass and sparse synoptic data indicated that the LLCC was quite weak
  and embedded in a near-equatorial trough.  Convection had weakened and
  the development potential was downgraded to poor.  Twenty-four hours
  later the system was located approximately 475 nm southwest of Diego
  Garcia, drifting east-southeastward.  The LLCC was still weak and exposed
  with associated convection decoupled to the southwest--moderate upper-
  level westerlies were inhibiting development of the system.    Little
  change in intensity was noted on the 4th as the disturbance remained
  quasi-stationary about 450 nm southwest of Diego Garcia.

     Early on 5 March, however, animated satellite imagery depicted
  increasing organization of deep convection near the center.  The LLCC
  was relocated to a point approximately 400 nm west-southwest of Diego
  Garcia and the development potential was upgraded to fair.  A TCFA was
  issued at 1630 UTC, and at 1800 UTC, MFR upgraded the disturbance to
  tropical depression status with maximum central winds of 30 kts (10-min
  avg).  JTWC issued their first warning on TC-18S at 0000 UTC on 6 March
  with an initial intensity of 35 kts (1-min avg).  At 0600 UTC Mauritius
  upgraded the depression to Tropical Storm Hary, located about 600 nm
  west-southwest of Diego Garcia or slightly less than 700 nm northeast of
  Port Louis, Mauritius.  Hary was moving slowly southwestward at 5 kts
  under the steering influence of a low to mid-level ridge to the south-

  B. Track and Intensity History

     Hary followed a fairly straight westward course for several days,
  occasionally jogging slightly to the west-southwest or west-northwest.
  During this time the storm intensified from a minimal tropical storm
  into an intense cyclone.  A 200-mb analysis around 1200 UTC on the 6th
  indicated that Hary was located beneath a ridge axis with little shear.
  Persistent deep convection was wrapping around a well-defined LLCC and
  the storm's intensification was rather rapid.  Winds had reached 60 kts
  by 1200 UTC on 7 March when Hary was located about 500 nm north of Port
  Louis.  Even though the majority of the deep convection was in the south-
  ern semicircle, a developing eye was evident and the storm exhibited good
  outflow in all quadrants.  (JTWC estimated the 1-min avg MSW at 65 kts
  at this time.)   Between 07/1200 and 08/0000 UTC, Hary intensified very
  rapidly.  At 0000 UTC, MFR upgraded Hary to a tropical cyclone (i.e.,
  hurricane) with 85-kt winds, located about 550 nm north-northwest of
  Mauritius.  (JTWC upped their 1-min avg MSW estimate to 105 kts at the
  same time.)  Satellite imagery depicted a fairly well-defined 9-nm diam-
  eter eye.

     MFR increased the 10-min avg MSW estimate to 95 kts at 0600 UTC, and
  at 1200 UTC, JTWC upped their 1-min avg MSW to 120 kts, based on CI esti-
  mates of 115 kts.  (MFR's intensity remained at 95 kts at 1200 UTC but
  was increased to 110 kts at 1800 UTC.)  At 08/1200 UTC the center of
  Tropical Cyclone Hary was located approximately 250 nm east of Cape
  D'Ambre, Madagascar.   Deep convection had increased in all quadrants.
  The cyclone was situated on the western extension of a mid-level ridge
  and was forecast to continue tracking westward for the next 12 to 18
  hours followed by a sharp turn poleward as a longwave trough approached.
  At 0000 UTC on 9 March, Hary's 24-nm diameter eye was centered about
  200 nm east of Cape D'Ambre, moving west-southwestward at only 2 kts.
  MFR's intensity estimate remained at 110 kts while JTWC increased their
  1-min avg MSW to 125 kts based on a Dvorak rating of T6.5.  At 1200 UTC
  the cyclone was located 150 nm east of Cape D'Ambre, moving west-
  southwestward at 7 kts.  The storm's intensity leveled off for several
  hours, perhaps weakening a bit.  JTWC's 1-min avg MSW remained at 125 kts
  while MFR decreased their MSW to 100 kts at 1200 UTC.  However, by 1800
  UTC Hary was intensifying once again as MFR upped the intensity to
  115 kts.

     Tropical Cyclone Hary reached its peak intensity around 0000 UTC on
  10 March when it was centered approximately 175 nm south-southeast of
  Cape D'Ambre.  MFR estimated the intensity at 120 kts with a central
  pressure of 905 mb, making the storm a "very intense" tropical cyclone
  by their terminology--maximum 10-min avg winds greater than 115 kts.
  (JTWC's peak 1-min avg MSW was 140 kts, in very close agreement with
  MFR's intensity.)  Gale-force winds reached outward 130 nm from the
  23-nm diameter eye in all quadrants, while the radius of 50-kt winds
  was estimated at 60 nm.  Hary was moving south-southwestward at 10 kts
  due to the steering influence of the strong mid-level ridge to the east
  and a transient mid-latitude trough moving eastward to the south of the
  storm.  The eye of Tropical Cyclone Hary made landfall on the coast of
  Madagascar around 1200 UTC on 10 March at a point approximately 30 nm
  south-southeast of Antalaha (WMO 67025).  MFR reported the intensity
  at 95 kts while JTWC's 1-min avg MSW was estimated at 135 kts.

     By 11/0000 UTC the center of Hary had moved offshore to a position
  roughly 60 nm east-southeast of Mahavelona.  The storm was moving south
  at 11 kts, and had weakened due to interaction with the landmass of
  Madagascar.   MFR lowered the 10-min avg MSW to 85 kts, while JTWC
  decreased their 1-min avg MSW estimate to 115 kts.  The storm no longer
  displayed a discernible eye but still showed tightly-curved convective
  bands.  By 1200 UTC Hary was located about 220 nm west of Reunion Island,
  moving south-southeastward at 16 kts, and had maintained its intensity.
  A SSM/I pass and multi-spectral satellite imagery indicated an eye fea-
  ture with tightly-wrapped banding.  A trough to the west was deepening
  and beginning to create some northwesterly shear over the storm.

     Tropical Cyclone Hary was located about 190 nm southwest of Reunion
  Island at 12/0000 UTC, moving southeastward at 15 kts, and had more or
  less maintained its intensity, although JTWC dropped their 1-min avg
  MSW to 100 kts.  At 1200 UTC the cyclone was located approximately
  300 nm south-southwest of Reunion Island with deep convection confined
  mainly to the southern semicircle.  Dvorak numbers were still running at
  T5.0 and T5.5 but began to drop soon afterward.  JTWC issued an interim
  warning at 1800 UTC, lowering the intensity to 80 kts.  The Remarks noted
  that convection was weakening in the western semicircle due to the north-
  westerly shear and that Hary was nearing the mid-point of extratropical
  transition.  At 0000 UTC on the 13th Hary was centered about 455 nm
  south-southeast of Reunion Island.    Both MFR and JTWC lowered their
  respective intensity estimates to 70 kts, based on CI estimates of 65
  and 77 kts.

     MFR downgraded Hary to a 55-kt tropical storm at 0600 UTC, and at
  1200 UTC declared the system to be extratropical, although the intensity
  was bumped up slightly to 60 kts.  JTWC issued their final warning on
  Hary also at 1200 UTC with the storm located approximately 515 nm south-
  southeast of Reunion Island.  The center was fully-exposed with the
  remaining deep convection sheared about 30 nm to the southeast.  MFR
  continued to issue bulletins on the still-potent extratropical storm
  for another couple of days as it moved generally southeastward, later
  turning eastward.  By 1200 UTC on the 15th the former very intense trop-
  ical cyclone had weakened into a minimal gale about 800 nm southeast of
  Reunion Island and the final bulletin was issued.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     For most of Hary's lifespan, the 1-min avg MSW estimates from JTWC and
  the 10-min avg MSW estimates from MFR agreed rather well after conversion
  to the same time averaging period, being usually within 5-10 kts.  The
  respective peak intensities--120 kts for MFR and 140 kts for JTWC--agreed
  very closely.  The biggest difference was at 10/1200 UTC when Hary had
  just made landfall in eastern Madagascar.  JTWC's value of 135 kts would
  correspond to a 10-min avg MSW of 119 kts, whereas MFR was reporting
  95 kts at the time.   JTWC's estimates ran a little higher than MFR's
  from that point until 12/0000 UTC when they once more fell in line.
  In the interim warning issued at 12/1800 UTC, JTWC's MSW estimate was
  lowered to 80 kts, equivalent to a 10-min avg MSW of 70 kts, while MFR's
  reported intensity was 85 kts.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     Damage in Madagascar appears to be relatively light--rather surprising
  considering the intensity of Hary when its eye brushed the coast.  In
  the Antalaha district, no major damage was reported inside the city.
  One death by electrocution was reported, and two bridges were destroyed
  on the road to Cap Est to the south.  Likewise, in the district of
  Fenerive Est, no damage was reported inside the city.    The road to
  Toamasina was cut due a bridge being out.  Hary was about the same
  intensity as Tropical Cyclone Hudah, which struck near Antalaha in
  April, 2000, claiming over 100 lives and almost destroying the city.
  One mitigating factor was likely the fact that the more dangerous
  left semicircle remained offshore.  If any more information regarding
  damage or casualties becomes available, I will include it in a future

                          TROPICAL CYCLONE IKALA
                             (MFR 12 / TC-20S)
                               22 - 31 March

  A. Storm Origins

     A persistent area of convection developed on 20 March about 675 nm
  east of Diego Garcia.  The convection was associated with a weak LLCC
  located beneath diffluent flow aloft.  By 1800 UTC on the 21st the
  LOW was centered roughly 540 nm east of Diego Garcia.  Visible and
  enhanced infrared imagery depicted a broad circulation moving westward.
  Convection had weakened some since the previous day.  MFR issued the
  first tropical disturbance bulletin at 1200 UTC on 22 March, and at 1300
  UTC, JTWC issued an interim STWO relocating the LLCC eastward to a
  point approximately 645 nm east of Diego Garcia.  The system was located
  just equatorward of the upper-level ridge axis and animated visible
  imagery depicted improving organization of deep convection near the
  center, hence, the development potential was upgraded to fair.  The
  regular STWO at 1800 UTC, however, once more relocated the disturbance
  back to the west, to near its 21/1800 UTC position.   Central convection
  continued to improve in organization and at 22/2330 UTC, JTWC issued a
  TCFA for the system--by then located about 500 nm east of Diego Garcia.

     By 1800 UTC on the 23rd, the LLCC had reached a point approximately
  300 nm east of Diego Garcia as it continued to push westward across the
  South Indian Ocean.  A temporary weakening trend was in progress with
  earlier deep convection having dissipated and a large cirrus shield over
  the system arresting development for the time being.  However, CIMSS data
  showed weak vertical shear with good divergence aloft.  By the time JTWC
  re-issued the TCFA at 2330 UTC, convection was increasing once again near
  the center.   At 0600 UTC on 24 March, JTWC issued their first warning on
  TC-20S with an initial intensity of 30 kts, and MFR upgraded the system
  to a tropical depression with a 10-min avg MSW also of 30 kts.   The
  center of the depression was then centered approximately 270 nm southeast
  of Diego Garcia, moving west-southwestward at 9 kts under the steering
  influence of the subtropical ridge to the southeast.
     At 24/1800 UTC, JTWC upped the MSW to 40 kts (1-min avg).  Satellite
  intensity estimates were still 30 kts, and animated imagery depicted
  various areas of convection developing and dissipating within a broad
  LLCC.  A QuikScat pass revealed a very large LLCC with winds of 20-25
  kts around the periphery and a large area of 5 to 10-kt winds in the
  center--highest winds were evident within the areas of deep convection.
  Thus, the system had the characteristics of a large monsoon depression
  at this juncture.  At 0600 UTC on the 25th the system was centered
  roughly 250 nm south of Diego Garcia, moving west-southwestward at 7 kts.
  The center was partially-exposed with weak banding features attempting
  to wrap into the LLCC from the northeastern and southeastern quadrants.
  A recent QuikScat pass revealed an elongated LLCC with light winds of
  10-15 kts within 90 nm of the center in the eastern quadrant.  Satellite
  CI estimates were 35 and 45 kts, so Mauritius upgraded the depression to
  Tropical Storm Ikala.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     Throughout its formative stages, Ikala moved west-southwestward.  The
  storm reached the westernmost point of its track about the time it was
  named as a tropical storm--shortly afterward the system made an abrupt
  hook back to the southeast and followed a south-southeasterly trajectory
  for the remainder of its life as a tropical cyclone.  (During its later
  extratropical stage Ikala moved back to the southwest.)  By 25/1800 UTC
  MFR had increased the intensity to 45 kts with the storm centered about
  270 nm south of Diego Garcia.  Animated satellite imagery indicated that
  convection was increasing over the LLCC with a weak banding feature in
  the southeastern quadrant.   A recent QuikScat pass indicated an elong-
  ated LLCC (or else the possibility of dual circulations).  By 0600 UTC
  on 26 March the winds had increased to 55 kts (65 kts 1-min avg MSW from
  JTWC) and a ragged eye feature was seen to be developing.  A QuikScat
  pass indicated a well-defined LLCC with a symmetric wind field.  MFR
  upgraded Ikala to tropical cyclone status with 65-kt winds at 1800 UTC
  when the storm was centered approximately 475 nm south-southeast of Diego
  Garcia.  A 26/1709 UTC SSM/I pass indicated that a banding eye had

     Following the development of the eye Ikala intensified rather rapidly.
  MFR increased the intensity to 85 kts at 27/0000 UTC, and JTWC upped the
  1-min avg MSW estimate to 105 kts at 0600 UTC, based on a CI estimate
  of 102 kts.  A 27/0412 SSM/I pass revealed a 21-nm diameter eye.  Gales
  extended outward 180 nm to the southeast and from around 80-100 nm in
  the other quadrants while the radius of storm-force winds was estimated
  to be 30 nm.  (The radii were taken from JTWC's warnings--MFR's gale
  radius was slightly smaller but the radius of storm-force winds was the
  same.)   At 1200 UTC, MFR increased the 10-min avg MSW to its peak for
  the storm of 90 kts, accompanied by an estimated central pressure of
  940 mb.   Tropical Cyclone Ikala was then centered approximately 625 nm
  south-southeast of Diego Garcia.   Ikala had barely reached its peak
  intensity when the first signs of weakening began to be seen.  A TRMM
  pass at 27/1459 UTC revealed that there was no longer an eye feature and
  that the LLCC had begun to decouple from the mid-level vortex.  Animated
  enhanced infrared imagery indicated that the mid-level circulation was
  accelerating to the southeast while the LLCC continued to move slower
  with a low-level ridge building to the south.

     MFR decreased the intensity estimate to 85 kts at 27/1800 UTC, to
  80 kts six hours later, and to 65 kts at 28/0600 UTC.    Interestingly,
  JTWC's 1-min avg MSW was even lower--60 kts--down from 105 kts twelve
  hours earlier.  Ikala was downgraded to a 50-kt tropical storm at 1200
  UTC when centered roughly 825 nm southeast of Diego Garcia.  JTWC issued
  their final warning at 1800 UTC with the intensity estimated at 45 kts,
  based on CI estimates of 45 and 55 kts.  Satellite imagery showed a
  cirrus shield extending to the southeast with deep convection confined
  to the poleward semicircle.   Ikala had linked up with a baroclinic
  boundary extending to the southeast and JTWC classified the system as
  extratropical.  MFR continued to treat Ikala as a tropical storm for
  another 24 hours--by 29/1200 UTC the system was moving southward at
  6 kts.    At 1800 UTC MFR also declared Ikala extratropical, moving
  west-southwestward at 8 kts with maximum winds of 45 kts.  The remnant
  gale center continued moving generally southwestward, turning to the
  south-southwest and accelerating.  The final bulletin on the LOW, issued
  at 31/1200 UTC, placed the center approximately 1200 nm east-southeast
  of Reunion Island.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     The MSW estimates from JTWC agreed very closely with those from MFR
  throughout most of Ikala's history.  The respective peak intensity esti-
  mates, 90 kts from MFR (10-min avg) and 105 kts from JTWC (1-min avg)
  were in perfect agreement.  JTWC's MSW values on the final two warnings
  were 5 kts less than MFR's 10-min avg estimates.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     No damage or casualties are known to have resulted from Tropical
  Cyclone Ikala.



  Activity for March:  No tropical cyclones


  Activity for March:  1 tropical cyclone of gale intensity

                         Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  Northeast Australia/Coral Sea tropical cyclones are the warnings
  and advices issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres at
  Brisbane, Queensland, and Darwin, Northern Territory, and on very
  infrequent occasions, by the centre at Port Moresby, Papua New
  Guinea.  References to sustained winds imply a 10-minute averaging
  period unless otherwise stated.

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from the Australian centres' coor-
  dinates by usually 40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings are also the
  source of the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind values included
  in the tracks file.   Additionally, information describing details of
  satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation features included in
  the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC warnings.

  NOTE: Much of the information contained in the summary of Tropical
  Cyclone Des, especially in sections (B) and (D), was obtained from a
  report on the storm written and sent to me by Alipate Waqaicelua, Chief
  Forecaster at the Nadi TCWC in Fiji.  A special thanks to Alipate for
  sending me the report.

                        Northeast Australia/Coral Sea
                         Tropical Activity for March

     The month of March was quiet in waters all around northern Australia
  and in the Southeast Indian Ocean.  The only tropical system to form in
  the AOR of any of the Australian TCWCs was Des, which formed just inside
  the eastern boundary of Brisbane's AOR on the 5th.  In fact, just three
  hours after Des was named it had moved eastward across longitude 160E
  into Fiji's AOR.

                          TROPICAL CYCLONE DES
                            (TC-17P / TD-12F)
                               4 - 7 March

  A. Storm Origins

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 0600 UTC on 3 March noted that an area of
  convection associated with a broad circulation had developed approxi-
  mately 450 nm east-southeast of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  A 200-mb
  analysis indicated weak to moderate divergence aloft associated with an
  upper-level ridge over the Solomon Islands.  Twenty-four hours later the
  system was located about 670 nm north-northeast of Brisbane.  Deep con-
  vection was increasing, and at 04/1200 UTC the Brisbane TCWC initiated
  bulletins on the LOW.  JTWC issued an interim STWO at 1500 UTC, upgrading
  the development potential to fair.  Deep convection had continued to
  increase over the eastern semicircle, and the LLCC was located poleward
  of an upper-level ridge in a region of moderate divergence.

     JTWC issued a TCFA for the system at 04/2130 UTC, then located about
  550 nm north-northeast of Brisbane, and at 0000 UTC on 5 March, Brisbane
  issued a gale warning for a zone of gales located in the southern semi-
  circle.  JTWC issued their first warning on TC-17P at 05/0600 UTC.  The
  system was located about 600 nm northeast of Brisbane, moving east-
  southeastward at 7 kts.  The initial 1-min avg MSW of 35 kts was based
  upon CI estimates of 30 and 35 kts.    A banding feature was wrapping
  around the eastern side of the LLCC, and a 200-mb analysis indicated
  that the system was situated beneath favorable outflow aloft.  TC-17P
  was tracking east-southeastward under the steering influence of a low to
  mid-level ridge east of the system, and this motion was forecast to
  continue.  Strengthening continued, and at 0900 UTC Brisbane upgraded the
  system to Tropical Cyclone Des with 40-kt winds, located a mere 30 nm
  west of longitude 160E, which is the border between Brisbane's and Nadi's
  respective areas of warning responsibility.

  B. Track and Intensity History

     RSMC Nadi took over the primary responsibility for warnings at 05/1200
  UTC with the cyclone centered approximately 385 nm west-northwest of
  Noumea, New Caledonia.  Three hours later Des was located about 200 nm
  west-northwest of the northern tip of New Caledonia.   Intensity was
  45 kts and the storm was tracking toward the east-southeast at 8 kts.  At
  this stage, convection and overall organisation had increased markedly,
  due mainly to decreasing shear downwind of the cyclone.  Spiral bands had
  gained more curvature, and deep convective tops within the central dense
  overcast and convective bands had steadily cooled through the night 
  hours.  Hence, at 05/1800 UTC Des was upgraded to storm intensity with
  winds estimated at 50 kts and forecast to increase to 55 kts during the
  next 12 to 24 hours.   By 06/0000 UTC Tropical Cyclone Des was located
  approximately 275 nm west-northwest of Noumea, and due to a gradual
  backing of the steering windfield, the storm began to turn southeastward.

     With good outflow established and decreasing shear forecast, the
  cyclone was basically being steered into a favourable region for further
  intensification.  However, Des was now slightly gaining speed towards the
  southeast and was located closer to the rugged terrain of New Caledonia.
  During the evening of the 6th, the cyclone began to gradually lose organ-
  isation through friction induced by the volcanic landmass.   Vertical 
  shear was also increasing, though gradually.   But the damage to Des'
  structure was already beyond rescue.  At 06/1200 UTC the cyclone was
  centered about 150 nm west of Noumea, and while the intensity was still
  at storm force, it was forecast to decrease to 45 kts over the next 12 to
  18 hours.   Des had also begun to gradually accelerate to 12 kts toward
  the southeast under the strengthening steering and toward a region of
  stronger shear.
     At 06/1800 UTC Tropical Cyclone Des was in a very strongly sheared
  environment. The LLCC was exposed about 100 nm to the west of the deep
  convection.  Maximum intensity was 40 kts and the cyclone was further
  accelerating to the southeast at 15 kts.   At 07/0000 UTC the system was
  located about 100 nm south of Noumea with the MSW estimated at 35 kts and
  decreasing steadily.  Des was downgraded to a tropical depression at
  0600 UTC on the 7th when located approximately 145 nm southeast of
  Noumea.  Some peripheral gales remained, but well away from the centre
  which was devoid of any deep convection.  JTWC issued their final warning
  on Des also at 0600 UTC, estimating the 1-min avg MSW at 35 kts.  The
  Wellington office assumed warning responsibility for the LOW as it
  reached the 25th parallel and turned eastward.  The final gale warning
  from Wellington was issued at 07/2300 UTC with the center located about
  325 nm northeast of Norfolk Island.

  C. Comparisons Between JTWC and Other Centers

     JTWC's peak 1-min avg MSW estimate of 45 kts was a little under the
  maximum 10-min avg MSW of 50 kts estimated by Nadi, which would be
  equivalent to a 1-min avg MSW of 55-60 kts.   Otherwise, intensity
  estimates between the warning centers were basically in good agreement.

  D. Damage and Casualties

     New Caledonia was spared from the destructive storm force winds
  because Des made a turn to the southeast around 06/0000 UTC, maintaining
  a good 90 to 100 nm distance from the southern coastline.  No reports of
  damage or casualties resulting from Tropical Cyclone Des have been
  received from New Caledonia at the present time.


  SOUTH PACIFIC (SPA) - South Pacific Ocean East of Longitude 160E

  Activity for March:  2 tropical depressions **
                       1 tropical cyclone of storm intensity ++

  ** - one of these was treated as a minimal tropical storm by JTWC
  ++ - visitor from the Australian Region (Des)

                         Sources of Information

     The primary sources of tracking and intensity information for
  South Pacific tropical cyclones are the warnings and advisories
  issued by the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres at Nadi, Fiji (for
  waters north of latitude 25S), and Wellington, New Zealand (for
  waters south of latitude 25S).  References to sustained winds imply
  a 10-minute averaging period unless otherwise stated.

     In the companion tropical cyclone tracks file, I occasionally
  annotate positions from warnings issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning
  Center (JTWC) of the U. S. Air Force and Navy, located at Pearl
  Harbor, Hawaii, when they differ from the Southern Hemisphere
  centres' coordinates by usually 40-50 nm or more.  The JTWC warnings
  are also the source of the 1-minute average maximum sustained wind
  values included in the tracks file.    Additionally, information
  describing details of satellite imagery and atmospheric circulation
  features included in the narratives is often gleaned from the JTWC

                  South Pacific Tropical Activity for March

     For the third consecutive month, no tropical cyclones were named by
  the Nadi TCWC, which covers the South Pacific north of latitude 25S
  between longitudes 160E and 120W.  The only named cyclone in the region
  was Tropical Cyclone Des, which formed just west of 160E and was named
  by Brisbane only about three hours before moving into Fiji's AOR.  (See
  the section of this summary covering the Northeast Australia/Coral Sea
  region for a report on Des.)

     Fiji numbered two other systems as tropical depressions during the
  month.  One of these, Tropical Depression 13F, was classified as a
  tropical storm by JTWC (TC-19P); therefore, I am including a separate
  short report on this system.  The other depression (TD-14F), formed on
  the 18th only about 65 nm southeast of Pago Pago, American Samoa.  The
  system remained quasi-stationary and was located about 100 nm south-
  southwest of Pago Pago at 2100 UTC on 20 March.  But at 0600 UTC on the
  21st the center of the broad system was relocated about 300 nm to the
  south-southwest of the 20/2100 UTC position.  Another tropical disturb-
  ance in that vicinity had been mentioned in the Tropical Disturbance
  Summary (issued by Nadi) for 20/2100 UTC, and it seems likely that this
  system was considered the dominant center for TD-14F from 21/0600 UTC

     The depression continued to drift west-southwestward and was located
  about 450 nm south-southeast of Fiji on the Dateline when last mentioned
  by Nadi at 2100 UTC on 23 March.   Gale warnings were issued from the
  20th until early on the 22nd for some associated peripheral gales created
  by the depression's proximity to a high-pressure system northeast of
  New Zealand.

     There was one other system in the South Pacific during March which
  perhaps deserves mentioning.  A subtropical-type LOW formed on 21 March
  about 250 nm northwest of Dahurei Island.    A 21/0230 UTC QuikScat pass
  revealed a LLCC with some associated deep convection on the poleward
  side.  An upper-level LOW was in the vicinity, creating some moderate
  vertical wind shear.  JTWC assessed the disturbance to have a fair
  potential for development, and at 22/1700 UTC a TCFA was issued for
  the system, which by then was positioned approximately 125 nm north-
  northeast of Dahurei Island.  Deep convection was developing near the
  LLCC and the LOW was situated beneath favorable diffluence aloft.
  However, seven hours later the TCFA was cancelled--deep convection was
  being sheared to the southeast and the system was moving into a region
  of cooler SSTs, hence, tropical cyclogenesis appeared to be unlikely.

                            TROPICAL DEPRESSION
                             (TD-13F / TC-19P)
                               13 - 16 March

     A STWO issued by JTWC at 0600 UTC on 13 March noted than an area of
  convection located approximately 280 nm west of Vanuatu had persisted
  for 24 hours.  Animated satellite imagery showed deep cycling convection
  associated with a weak LLCC which had been depicted by a recent QuikScat
  pass.  A 200-mb analysis indicated that the area was situated beneath an
  upper-level ridge axis in a region of weak to moderate vertical shear
  with moderately favorable poleward outflow.  At 2000 UTC the system was
  located approximately 450 nm northwest of Noumea.  Convection was still
  somewhat isolated but was increasing in organization, hence, the
  development potential was upgraded to fair.  In the Tropical Disturbance
  Summary issued at 2100 UTC, Nadi classified the system as Tropical
  Depression 13F.

     JTWC issued a TCFA at 0800 UTC on the 14th for the LOW which was then
  located about 380 nm northwest of Noumea.  Animated visible imagery
  depicted cycling deep convection displaced to the south-southeast of the
  LLCC.  The convection had increased in coverage, however, and satellite
  intensity estimates ranged from 25 to 35 kts.   The first warning on 
  TC-19P was issued at 14/1800 UTC, placing the center near the northeast
  coast of New Caledonia, moving southeastward at 14 kts.  The initial
  warning intensity (1-min avg) of 35 kts was based on CI estimates of
  25 to 45 kts.  Convection near the center had increased in coverage and
  organization.  The system was being steered southeastward by a low to
  mid-level ridge to the north-northeast, and by 0600 UTC on 15 March the
  center of TC-19P was located about 160 nm east-northeast of Noumea,
  moving east-southeastward at 26 kts.  The system had passed poleward of
  the upper-level ridge axis and deep convection had become sheared to the
  southeast of the LLCC.

     At 15/1800 UTC the system was centered approximately 365 nm southwest
  of Fiji.  JTWC still reported the MSW (1-min avg) at 35 kts, based on
  CI estimates of 25 to 45 kts, but a recent SSM/I pass indicated that the
  LLCC had decoupled from the convection.  The final warning on TC-19P from
  JTWC, issued at 0600 UTC on 16 March, placed the center about 320 nm
  south-southwest of Fiji, moving east-southeastward at 15 kts.  The MSW
  was estimated at 30 kts, and the LLCC was dissipating rapidly under the
  combined influence of moderate vertical shear and cooler SSTs.  No damage
  or casualties are known to have resulted from this tropical depression.


                              EXTRA FEATURE

     In order to shorten the amount of typing in preparing the narrative
  material, I have been in the habit of freely using abbreviations and
  acronyms.   I have tried to define most of these with the first usage
  in a given summary, but I may have missed one now and then.  Most of
  these are probably understood by a majority of readers but perhaps a
  few aren't clear to some.  To remedy this I developed a Glossary of
  Abbreviations and Acronyms which I first included in the July, 1998
  summary.  I don't normally include the Glossary in most months in
  order to help keep them from being too long.  If anyone would like to
  receive a copy of the Glossary, please e-mail me and I'll be happy
  to send them a copy.


  AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This summary should be considered a very preliminary 
  overview of the tropical cyclones that occur in each month. The cyclone
  tracks (provided separately) will generally be based upon operational
  warnings issued by the various tropical cyclone warning centers.  The
  information contained therein may differ somewhat from the tracking and
  intensity information obtained from a "best-track" file which is based
  on a detailed post-seasonal analysis of all available data. Information
  on where to find official "best-track" files from the various warning
  centers will be passed along from time to time.

    The track files are not being sent via e-mail.  They can be retrieved
  in the following manner:

       (a) FTP to: []
       (b) Login as: anonymous
       (c) For a password use your e-mail address
       (d) Go to "data" subdirectory (Type: cd data)
       (e) Set file type to ASCII (Type: ascii)
       (f) Transfer file (Type: get remote_file_name local_file_name )
           (The files will be named with an obvious nomenclature--using
           March as an example:   mar02.tracks)
       (g) To exit FTP, type: quit

    Both the summaries and the track files are standard text files
  created in DOS editor.  Download to disk and use a viewer such as
  Notepad or DOS editor to view the files.

     The first summary in this series covered the month of October,
  1997.   If anyone wishes to retrieve any of the previous summaries,
  they may be downloaded from the aforementioned FTP site at HRD.  The
  summary files are catalogued with the nomenclature:  mar02.sum, for

    Back issues can also be obtained from the following websites
  (courtesy of Michael Bath, Michael V. Padua and Michael Pitt):>> OR>>

     Another website where much information about tropical cyclones may
  be found is the website for the UK Meteorological Office.  Their site
  contains a lot of statistical information about tropical cyclones
  globally on a monthly basis.  The URL is:>


     JTWC now has available on its website the complete Annual Tropical 
  Cyclone Report (ATCR) for 2001 (2000-2001 season for the Southern 
  Hemisphere).  ATCRs for earlier years are available also.

     The URL is:>

     Also, TPC/NHC has available on its webpage nice "technicolor"
  tracking charts for the 2001 Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific
  tropical cyclones; also, preliminary storm reports for all the 2001
  Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific cyclones are now available, as
  well as track charts and reports on storms from earlier years.

     The URL is:>

     A special thanks to Michael Bath of Wollongbar, New South Wales,
  Australia, for assisting me with proofreading the summaries.

  Prepared by: Gary Padgett
  E-mail:  [email protected]
  Phone:  334-222-5327


Document: summ0203.htm
Updated: 27th December 2006

[Australian Severe Weather index] [Copyright Notice] [Email Contacts] [Search This Site]