Liua becomes earliest tropical cyclone on record to form in the South Pacific Ocean
September 27, 2018; 7:25 AM
Even though the official start of the South Pacific tropical season is still more than a month away, Tropical Cyclone Liua developed near the southern Solomon Islands.
The official start of the tropical season in the South Pacific Basin is Nov. 1.
Liua was named a tropical cyclone by the Fiji Meteorological Service on Thursday morning local time (Wednesday afternoon EDT), marking the basin's first cyclone to form in September since reliable record-keeping began in the 1950s.
The previous earliest tropical cyclone on record for the South Pacific was Lusi, which formed in early October 1997.
Liua is currently a Category 1 tropical cyclone (based on the intensity scale by the Fiji Meteorological Service. This is the equivalent of a tropical storm in the Atlantic or northern Pacific oceans).
Liua is expected to maintain that strength as it tracks away from the Solomon Islands and into the open waters of the Coral Sea.
The worst of the rain and wind associated with Liua will be over the open waters of the northeastern Coral Sea into the start of the weekend. Rough seas will be churned over these waters, creating dangers for boaters.
Vanuatu and New Caledonia will escape the heaviest rain and strongest winds, but showers and a few thunderstorms can still spread to these islands to close out the week.
Vacations and other outdoor plans can be disrupted. Any localized downpours can slow down motorists by reducing visibility.
Fiji will also turn unsettled at this time, but not at the hands of the tropical cyclone.
Additional showers can dampen these islands on Saturday, when Liua is expected to weaken back below tropical cyclone intensity.