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Cyclone Bola    24 February to 11 March 1988

Cyclone Bola developed into a category 1 tropical cyclone 27 February 1988 to the north west of Fiji. Due to a high pressure system the cyclone was blocked and stalled in this area. During February 28, the system became a Category 3 severe tropical cyclone on the Australian scale, as it performed a small clockwise loop, near Vanuatu. During March 2, Bola moved south east from Vanuatu and the Fiji Met Service reported the system had peaked with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 165 km/h, which made it a Category 4 severe tropical cyclone on the South Pacific scale. The United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center also reported that the system had peaked with 1-minute sustained wind speeds of 195 km/h.

By 4th March, Bola started to transitioning to become an extratropical cyclone and started to head in a southerly direction towards the Upper North Island. By 7 March, Bola had taken a westward movement and commenced impacting the Upper North Island with gales force south-easterlies and heavy rain. The slow speed of the system over the next 3 days made the cyclone Bola one of the most damaging weather events in New Zealand's modern history. ​All areas across the Upper North Island were battered by Bola's severe gales and heavy rainfall with Northland, Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty being most impacted.

Tropical summary

Name
Category 

Lowest pressure
Lowest land pressure

Mean Wind Speed 
Affected land

 
Bola 
4
940 hPa
978 hPa

195 km/h (G- 240 km/h)
Vanuatu
Ex-TC summary

Name
Category 

Lowest pressure
Lowest land pressure

Mean Wind Speed 
Affected upper NI

 


Bola
1
972 hPa
983 hPa

90 km/h (G- 130 km/h)
Northland, Auckland, Gulf Islands, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel, Waikato, BOP
Bola 1988 track.jpg
Bola 1988 MSLP.jpg
Bola 1988 Rainfall 1 hr.jpg