Tropical Storm Freda (05P) South-Southeast of Solomon Islands19.9S 159.1E
On December 26, RSMC Nadi started to monitor a tropical disturbance that had developed about 1075 km (670 mi) to the north of Port Vila, Vanuatu. During that day, the disturbance moved westwards and developed into a tropical depression.
Now known as Tropical Storm Freda (05P), the system is currently located approximately 75 nm south-southeast of Honiara, Solomon Islands. It has tracked west-southwestward at 08 knots over the past six hours and has reached the warning threshold intensity of 35 knots during the past six hours. Maximum significant wave height is 10 feet.
TC 05P is tracking west-southwestward along the periphery of a subtropical ridge centered to the southeast of the cyclone. The system is expected to turn poleward over the next 24 hours as it rounds the ridge and tracks toward the base of a mid-latitude trough extending across eastern Australia. Generally poleward motion is expected to continue throughout the forecast period as the system continues to track along the western periphery of the current steering ridge.
Low vertical wind shear, favorable poleward and equatorward outflow, and passage over warm water will support steady intensification through TAU 72. Thereafter, increasing vertical wind shear and passage over cooler water will weaken the system.
The numerical models are in poor agreement regarding the exact track of TC 05P, with the GFS and GFDN showing a steady recurvature into the mid-latitude westerlies, NOGAPS showing a slower poleward track followed by recurvature late in the forecast period, and the UKMET and ECMWF showing the cyclone meandering poleward within the deep tropics.
It does not appear at this point that any developing mid-latitude trough will be deep enough or extend far enough equatorward to induce full recurvature during the forecast period. Therefore, the current forecast calls for a steady poleward track followed by a southeastward turn between TAU 96 and TAU 120. This forecast lies close to the multi-model consensus and is generally in line with the ECMWF forecast scenario.