Tropical Cyclone Zoe

January 03, 2003


Provided by: Hank Brandli
Summary authors & editors: Hank Brandli; Jim Foster

The above image shows powerful Tropical Cyclone Zoe in the South Pacific Ocean, about 400 miles (640 km) northeast of the island of Vanatu. Maximum sustained winds were 155 knots with gusts to 190 knots, making Zoe a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and one of the most dangerous storms in this part of the world in over a decade. Zoe strenghtened in the North Fiji Basin during the last week of December, but after casuing major damage to parts of the Solomon Islands, it turned southward and missed larger, more populous islands. The South Pacific's cyclone season usually starts around October 1 and extends to May, on average producing 28.6 cyclones during the eight months, with December averaging 3.4 storms. Zoe is only the second cyclone this season, following Yolande, which formed in the beginning of December.

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