Tropical Cyclone Yasa is now a category 5 storm. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows tropical cyclone Yasa moving toward the South Pacific island nation of Fiji on December 16, 2020.
Yasa is the fifth storm to reach category 5 strength in 2020, and the second to do so in the South Pacific after Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
At the time the photograph was captured, the center of the category 5 storm was about 240 miles northwest of Suva, Fiji.
The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa was the strongest tropical cyclone in the South Pacific since Winston in 2016, as well as the fourth most intense tropical cyclone on record in the basin. It was also the second Category 5 severe tropical cyclone in 2020 after Harold in the 2019–20 South Pacific cyclone season. Yasa was the second tropical disturbance, as well as the first tropical cyclone and severe tropical cyclone of the 2020–21 South Pacific cyclone season. Yasa was first noted as an area of low pressure to the north of Port Vila in Vanuatu during December 10. Over the next few days, the system gradually developed further as it absorbed Tropical Depression 01F, before it was classified as a tropical cyclone and named Yasa by the Fiji Meteorological Service on December 13.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory