Severe aftershocks hitting Christchurch

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Severe aftershocks are hitting the South Island city of Christchurch in New Zealand this afternoon following a powerful 6.3 quake at 12:51pm local time.

Cyclone Atu heading south

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Cyclone Atu is today beginning the process of clearing the main tropical islands as it heads south towards the east of New Zealand.

Atu is expected to peak in 24 hours time, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, with winds averaging 205km/h and gusting 250km/h.

As of this morning Atu's winds were sustained at 170km/h.

Atu: Too close for comfort + latest maps and stats

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Severe tropical cyclone, the fifth named storm to enter New Zealand waters this summer, is going to track very near to the North Island - but not near enough to cause problems predicts

The cyclone, which today reached Category 4 status, is on a path that will see it track close to the North Island's east coast.

VIDEO: Severe Cyclone Atu's track towards NZ

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Head weather analyst Philip Duncan talks about the tropical cyclone Atu, it's current status and just how close it will come to New Zealand.

Also, which beaches will be worse affected by Atu's swells?

View the video below...

Cyclone Atu now Category 4 (+Maps)

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As predicted by Severe Tropical Cyclone Atu is continuing to intensify with the Fiji Meteorological Service saying this mornign that Atu is now an intense category 4 cyclone.  This prediction was made exclusively by seven days ago.

Funny Video: NZ's newest weather presenter

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Move over Karen and Jim, New Zealand has a new weather presenter.

TreAnne Chalmers is the new weather presenter for NZ Notworth News.

What do you think?  Is she going to give the others a run for their money?!

Tropical storm intensifies near Vanuatu (+Maps)

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The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre has this morning announced that a tropical depression near Vanuatu is now a tropical cyclone - although the Fiji Meteorological Service which is the authority for the region is yet to do so.

The storm has become better organised overnight and this morning and will continue to intensify across the weekend and into early next week.

Japan cancels whaling season due to group's obstruction (+Video)

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CNN -- Japan has canceled the rest of its winter whaling season, with a top official reasoning that environmentalists' obstructive efforts made it dangerous for whalers to stay on the high seas.

Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Michihiko Kano told reporters Friday that the country's government halted whaling because of actions taken by the animal rights group, Sea Shepherd. He stressed that Japan did not want to do so, but felt its hand was forced.

Big High our saving grace for pending cyclone (+Maps)

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All the computer models are now agreeing that a tropical cyclone is imminent between Vanuatu and Fiji within the next 12 to 36 hours, reports

The two mainstream global models that we rely on are predicting a tropical cyclone due north of New Zealand and tracking south east.

VIDEO: An update on the tropics and a new tropical storm

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Philip Duncan discusses what's happening in the tropics with details on the cyclone that will brush past eastern New Zealand next week, the latest on the two tropical storms affecting Australia and what are the current sea surface temperatures around New Zealand?