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Cyclone Lola (18th to 31st October)

After starting as a tropical depression on October 17th 1200km to the north east of Vanuatu, a tropical low was given the name 01U on 18th October.

A low wind shear environment over the next few days allowed the low to improve its structure and was named as a Tropical cyclone 01P by JTWC on 22 October, then soon after by Fiji Met Service as 'Lola'. This was the first pre-season cyclone in the South Pacific to form since 'Liua' September 2018.

Lola intensified into a Category 2 tropical cyclone twelve hours later as its structure became stronger with only 10 to 15 knot vertical wind shear. The next day Lola reached a category 3 severe tropical cyclone and by the 24th October had become a South Pacific goliath Category 5 system heading for the northern islands of Vanuatu.

Lola smashed through the islands of Maewo & Pentecost as a category 5 then began weakening as environmental conditions became less favourable. Initial damage estimates of at least 10,000 households have being affected by the storm.

Over the next few days Lola weaken to a tropical low as it passed New Caledonia and headed towards Norfolk Island where at interacted with a upper low pressure trough and commenced transitioning to an extratropical system, swallowing up weaker circulations in the central Tasman.

MetService NZ choose not to continue Lola's name in their warnings but its circulation continued as verified on the GFS weather model and strengthened on approach to NZ, by daybreak on 29th October, impacts were being felt across the upper North Island.

Ex-tc Lola peaked as an extratropical cyclone around 300km North of Cape reinga in the early hours of Monday 30th October bringing heavy rain and storm force winds to Northland, northern Auckland and the eastern Coromandel Peninsula. Fallen trees, power outages, slips closing roads and king tide inundations were the main issues across the upper North.

Lola then weakened and moved SE on the 31st October.

Highest rainfall totals

Pinnacles (Coromandel Ranges) 457mm

Whakapara (Northland) 237mm

Dome Valley (Auckland) 190mm

Highest wind gust 143km/h (77 knots) Cape Reinga, Northland

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