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.

Donna's 'wobbling' positive news for Vanuatu, remains a serious situation this weekend

UPDATED 9:33pm Friday NZT--- Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna remains category 3 status with air pressure of 975hPa at the centre but is wobbling north and south as it tracks around Vanuatu.

Winds may gust up to 250km/h according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (US Government, which provides official global data for tropical storms).

Weather Video: Big high for NZ + Donna tracks south this week

A very large high pressure system is moving into New Zealand bringing settled, calm, conditions to most places. It may be a bit gloomy in the west though, of both islands, as this high isn’t a perfectly sunny one for everyone. However it will lock in a calm weekend for many areas as Thursday’s cold blast drifts further east away from the eastern North Island.

Cyclone Donna: Immediate storm threat to Vanuatu, possible rain threat to NZ next week (+Maps)

Tropical Cyclone Donna formed east of Vanuatu Wednesday night and was Thursday morning (NZT) upgraded to a Category 2 cyclone, likely to reach Severe Category 3 status by Friday morning.

Donna poses a serious threat to Vanuatu with the tracking likely to impact much of the nation as the storm intensifies, bringing flooding rains, damaging winds and damaging storm surges.

Special Weather Video: Cyclone Donna heads to Vanuatu, then maybe NZ as rain event

In this special update we track both the upcoming weekend weather and the sudden development of Cyclone Donna which is about to hit Vanuatu, likely as a "Severe" cyclone over a number of days.

Meanwhile at the same time in New Zealand we're dealing with an incoming anti-cyclone for Friday, the weekend and early next week.

Australia: Darwin about to be drenched by another tropical low

Weather forecasters are predicting a tropical low currently building strength in the Gulf of Papua will bring the Top End yet another burst of wet weather ahead of the start of the dry season.

In what is shaping up to become the second wettest wet season on record, Darwin has so far exceeded the normal rainfall levels in every month since October.

Cook's rain pushes into Dunedin, strong winds mostly at sea now

Final Update 4:40pm --- The low that used to be Cyclone Cook is now centred east of Dunedin and is tracking southwards along the coastline but well out to sea.  The peak winds are easing around the centre and the majority of these strongest winds are 150 to 200kms out to sea and will likely remain there.

Cook makes landfall, races south

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FINAL LIVE UPDATE 12:52am Friday --- Ex-Cyclone Cook made landfall in Bay of Plenty around 7pm Thursday between Tauranga and Mt Maunganui and as of 12:50pm the Cook's rain bands were starting to track over Cook Strait with the centre of the low possibly on the Wairarapa eastern coastline.

Video: Ex-Cyclone Cook affecting Mt Maunganui

Ex-Cyclone Cook churned through the Bay of Plenty across Thursday afternoon. The deep air pressure out at sea is a bit like dropping a rock in a pond - it sends ripples outwards and in the case of a cyclone it creates huge building swells.

Tropical trouble brings travel trouble for Easter travellers Thurs & Fri

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ExCyclone Cook is about to bring heavy rain and gales to many parts of New Zealand. Even if only for a few hours there's enough energy with the system to cause problems for travellers.