Tropical Cyclone Oma appeared well-organized on satellite imagery as it moved through the Southern Pacific Ocean, just northwest of New Caledonia.
On February 19, New Caledonia posted a tropical cyclone alert level 2 for the communities of Belep, Hienghene, Kaala-Gomen, Koumac, Ouegoa, Ouebo and Poum. New Caledonia is a French territory that consists of dozens of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It ls located about 750 miles (1,210 km) east of Australia.
On Feb.19, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of Tropical Cyclone Oma that revealed an eye surrounded by powerful thunderstorms. Oma's southeastern quadrant covered New Caledonia. The northern tip of the island was close to Oma's eyewall.
At 10 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC) Oma's maximum sustained winds were near 75 knots (86 mph/139 kph). Oma's eye was located approximately 246 nautical miles west-northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia, near 20.6 degrees south latitude and 162.0 east longitude. Oma was moving to the south.
Oma is moving south and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast calls for the storm to strengthen to 85 knots (98 mph/157 kph). The storm will then become extra-tropical as it turns southeast