How might Donna affect New Zealand? It comes back as Donna Mark II

Severe Cyclone Donna is heading towards New Zealand but a direct hit looks unlikely and the storm is going to weaken significantly before reaching northern areas.

However - it's what may happen to Donna AFTER she leaves the tropics that may have more of an impact on New Zealand.

Severe Cyclone Donna now Category 5, breaking historical global records

Severe Cyclone Donna, which and CNN reported Monday morning had reached Category 5 status, has Monday night finally been "officially" (Government endorsed) confirmed by the Fiji Metservice and NZ MetService.

Winds are sustained at 215km/h and gusting 260km/h, making Donna the strongest ever May cyclone recorded in the entire Southern Hemisphere.

Will Donna impact NZ? It's complicated!

Cyclone Donna's journey towards New Zealand looks more complicated than Cyclone Cook which is why we're still taking our timing working out how this might unfold. 

Severe Cyclone Donna tracking southwards and speeding up

There's a good chance Cyclone Donna may have peaked this morning following data from the US Government that suggested Donna temporarily spiked into Category 5 status with winds gusting to 260km/h and peak waves of 10 metres.

Weather Video: Cyclone Donna tracking towards New Caledonia & NZ

Severe Cyclone Donna was category 4 status on Monday morning and according to CNN has spiked at Category 5 later Monday morning.  

Donna has finally made her turn southwards and was picking up speed as she heads directly towards eastern New Caledonia.

Donna strengthens back to Cat 4 again overnight, now tracking south

Updated 8:48am NZT --- Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna was upgraded back to a Category 4 storm and is now the most intense it's been with air pressure falling to 948hPa according to the Fiji Met Service.

After sound 'bouncy' tracking at the end of last week and into the weekend the tropical cyclone has finally turned south.

CNN tracks Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna (via 4 weather graphics)

Updated 1pm --- is proud to be a CNN Weather affiliate, sharing content and exclusive information whenever possible as storms and other natural events affect and shape the South West Pacific.

Back to Cat 3 out at sea, Donna's turning towards New Caledonia

Severe Cyclone Donna is back to a Category 3 storm after being upgraded to a Category 4 storm overnight and earlier this morning. Despite the category changes the storm itself hasn't changed much, it's simply hovering around the threshold between these two categories used to measure the strength of a tropical cyclone.

The Fiji Met service says Donna's air pressure is now 960hPa.

Severe Cyclone Donna upgraded to a Category 4 tropical storm

Severe Cyclone Donna has been upgraded to a Category 4 tropical storm (the maximum is 5) as the low tracks further away from Vanuatu and into open waters.

Donna will still be tracking along Vanuatu's western side but further out to sea, which at this stage will limit severe weather in Vanuatu itself.

Cyclone Donna hurdles around Vanuatu, New Caledonia now at greater risk (+Maps)

UPDATED 9:45am Saturday NZT --- Severe Cyclone Donna remains a Category 3 tropical storm with central air pressure down to 968hPa.

Donna seems to have a bit of a groove on, bouncing north and south in a wave fashion as it snaked just north of Vanuatu yesterday to lie north west of the island nation this morning.