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Old 26-10-2014, 21:46   #1
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Exclamation New Zealand and Cyclones

When we left N America for the S Pacific, the conventional wisdom, at least in the information we were consuming, was that the only really safe place in cyclone season was New Zealand or Australia. A mostly safe option was supposed to be the Marquesas.

Imagine my surprise over the last three years as I've watched cyclones* smack New Zealand.

To be clear, I still think New Zealand is a very safe option - a low risk border region with well protected harbors, marinas and facilities - but I wish I had known that it was not outside of the zone and that it was more likely to be hit than the Marquesas (!)

*Technically they can't be called cyclones after they go extratropical. I should say "formerly named cyclones, still of cyclone strength" but that's a little unwieldy.

Is New Zealand Outside of the South Pacific Cyclone Zone? Yes, No and It Depends ~ SV Estrellita 5.10b
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Old 26-10-2014, 22:04   #2
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

Call them what you like, its really about wind speed.

NZ has manageable wind speeds but the low lattitude areas get wind speeds that are extremely difficult to manage.
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Old 26-10-2014, 22:38   #3
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

I guess manageable is a personal decision but for me winds in NZ from former cyclones gusting from 65 knots (Lusi recently) to 145 knots (Gisele historically) is enough to want to know about.

The tropics are more dangerous certainly but for me 'winds I would prefer not to manage' do reach NZ. More often in neutral ENSO years.
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Old 26-10-2014, 23:14   #4
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

NZ doesn't just get our old cyclones, they also cop the deep lows coming out of Bass strait.
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Old 26-10-2014, 23:19   #5
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

What you were seeing were extratropical lows which have degraded from cyclones. They have lower winds speeds but their affects last a whole lot longer as the system has grown in size exponentially from the original tight cyclone formation. They are a problem in that they bring wind and rain for a lot longer thus the flooding is generally a lot greater.
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Old 26-10-2014, 23:53   #6
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

Here is a link to the world storm tracks for the past 30 years. This should give you an idea where it's safe and not so.....
Click on the picture for a closer view, and segments.

Tropical cyclogenesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 27-10-2014, 02:43   #7
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

TL;DR

Just back from the bar, so... Technically, if they're not anticyclones, they're cyclones.

But beyond that bit of logic, weather, almost by definition, and certainly by analysis of complexity, is non-predictable over periods (on this planet) longer than 3 to 5 days (chose your window).

While my logical mind always seems to want to run the show, dictate reasonable scenarios, and formulate the appropriate responses, the real world always seems to have the trump card.

Which to my overly analytic mind, explains a bit the attraction of the unknown. Why do we take chances? I counsel myself, and anyone else foolish enough to ask, to look for where the hurricanes are, and to avoid those places, and yet when they inevitably hit, the outcome (if you survive) winds up being positive.

I guess the appropriate cliché is; hope for the best, expect the worst.

Further, our current affluence, as indicated by your stated expectations, suggests something more than a little ugly. Imagine any pre-mid-20th century or earlier explorer complaining that, "the guide book told me that the conditions were going to be like a Corona commercial, but they weren't."

I assume old mother nature will weed that out eventually though.

There are no safe places; there're only interesting places, the deciding criteria depend on one's ability and preparation.
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Old 27-10-2014, 03:13   #8
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

Hi Livia.
That Gisele storm was our worst ever but the highest wind speeds recorded were on hills where funnelling and ridge effects maximise wind speed. Not the same as sea level wind speeds.
When the Wahine passenger ferry hit the reef it was entering Wellington from Cook Strait - business as usual - but while lining up the harbour channel the wind force on the beam caused it to lose stearage.
At the same time a small wooden scow was sitting behind an island waiting out the blow before it continued to Wellington past the wreck of the Wahine. Nothing to worry about for them.

These storms are storms, not hurricanes.
(However I'll concede we do regularly get the odd yacht blown off its mooring or dragging anchor and this might be why Rocna and Manson were born in NZ.)
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Old 27-10-2014, 03:24   #9
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Re: New Zealand and Cyclones

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
Here is a link to the world storm tracks for the past 30 years. This should give you an idea where it's safe and not so.....
Click on the picture for a closer view, and segments.

Tropical cyclogenesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
That's a good picture. Very interesting.
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