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Climate Resilience

Moderate chance for one severe cyclone for Tonga at end of season

Nuku'alofa, Tonga


There is a moderate 50% chance for at least one severe Tropical Cyclone for Tonga during the remainder of the Tropical Cyclone season from March to April 2022, according to Tonga Met's latest outlook.

If a cyclone affects Tonga during the remainder of the Cyclone season, there is a moderate chance (50%) that this cyclone could be severe, based on historial and statistical records.

The next active period for the Southwest Pacific region (including Tonga) which indicates higher chances of Tropical Cyclone or Tropical Depression formation is predicted to start this week and will last for another three weeks in our region.

Any tropical cyclones passing close to the country, associated active cloud and rain bands may occasionally affect Tonga with marked rainfall and possible flooding, including sea flooding of low‐lying coastal areas. 

Tropical cyclones likely to affect Tonga for the remainder of the 2020/202 season should expect to be mostly coming from the northwest (Fiji Area-60%) and the rest from the West, North, East and Northeast. 

Tropical Cyclone formation areas are still expected to develop in the warmer ocean temperatures of the Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu regions.

While, the peak time for the occurrence of tropical cyclones in Tonga is from January to March, with most events occurring in February and could overlap to March. 

Sea surface analysis indicates that the average La Niña phase conditions of the South-west pacific region has reached its peak strength and is now weakening and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will return to Neutral Conditions for the coming months (May-June).

In addition, given the diminishing signals of this La Niña event at the moment and returning to Neutral conditions in the next three months.

Tonga normally receives average or below average rainfall activities in neutral conditions of the sea surface temperatures. Climate models are also indicating that near normal or below normal rainfall over majority of Tonga during for the next 3 months, said Tonga Met.

With current weakening conditions of La Niña and in the view of the rainfall outlook for Tonga, there is an increased risk of meteorological droughts in some islands of Tonga for the coming 3 to 6 months (May-October).

Tonga Met also cautioned that the information provided is only to be used as guidance and the given range of tropical cyclone numbers is indicative only. 

At the same time, all communities should remain alert and to be prepared throughout the remainder of theTC and take heed of tropical cyclone alerts, warnings and advisories seriously whenever it is issued to reduce the effects on life and property.