Cyclone Sarah threatens Cook Islands

Filed in:

The Cook Islands are again being threatened by a tropical cyclone.

Cyclone Sarah is sitting just off the coast of the island Palmerston, it is set to bring gale force winds, thunder, and heavy rain, a strong wind warning is also in place. Fiji's Met Service says it will not be as intense as Cyclone Pat, which whacked Aitutaki two weeks ago.

Ex-tropical cyclone Rene still set to affect New Zealand

Filed in:

The remnants of tropical cyclone Rene are expected to pass near northern and north eastern parts of the North Island on Thursday and Friday. says the low will come very close to Northland and may even bring relief to dry areas.

Overnight the tropical cyclone was downgraded to category 1 strength. believes Rene will lose its "tropical cyclone status" today as the storm continues to rapidly weaken.

Cyclone Rene dying as it heads towards New Zealand

Filed in:

As predicted by Tropical Cyclone Rene is moving towards New Zealand but is now dying and this morning became a Category 2 cyclone.  At its peak the storm was a severe category 4 cyclone.  5 is the highest.

This afternoon the cyclone remains a Category two with predicting it will become a strong category 1 cyclone in the next 12 to 24 hours, then downgraded to a tropical depression.

The storm is still on track towards New Zealand and may not weaken any further, bringing bigger swells and strong rips to eastern and northern eastern beaches of the North Island.

Reports of extensive damage in Tonga

Filed in:

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga - Tropical Cyclone Rene pounded Tonga with powerful winds overnight, causing major damage to buildings in the capital city, tearing off roofs, downing trees and cutting power and phone lines in the South Pacific island nation.

When phone service was restored early today, police said they had no immediate reports of death or injury during the storm that has hammered the three main island groups of the kingdom for more than 24 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Rene - Latest observations & warnings

Filed in:

Severe Tropical Cyclone Rene is continuing to weaken as it moves south west and is now a Category 2 cyclone.

It is significantly weaker than it was 24 hours ago but still remains dangerous, particularly to low lying areas.  The cyclone is now looking messy on satellite maps and has lost the iconic cyclone cloud swirl and eye.

Here is the latest cyclone warning statement issued by the Fiji Meteorological Society in its entirety, checked at 9:55am Tuesday NZT.

IMAGES: Latest satellite map and forecast track of Cyclone Rene

Filed in:

See the current satellite map showing Tropical Cyclone Rene (north east of New Zealand, south west of Fiji) courtesy of our weather partner

Below this image is the latest forecast track of the cyclone, taking it towards New Zealand but at the same time showing it losing its cyclone status - courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Cyclone Rene hits Tonga's main island

Filed in:

Cyclone Rene is starting to hit Tonga's main island and is expected to bring winds of more than 100 kilometres an hour.

New Zealander Chas Toogood is near the capital Nuku'alofa and says the weather is amazing and is the worst he has ever experienced.

How will Rene impact New Zealand?

Filed in:

Long range weather maps are clearly plotting that Rene will head towards New Zealand at the end of the working week.  So will it still be as powerful?

The tropical cyclone is currently category 3 strength - 5 is the highest. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the storm is one to watch closely but still remains no threat to the country.  "We believe the then ex-tropical cyclone will move very close to north eastern parts of the North Island around Thursday and Friday but we believe it will only brush us with cloud and perhaps strong south to south east winds".

Tsunami survivors brace for Severe Cyclone Rene

Filed in:

Tsunami survivors in Samoa and Tonga huddled in their makeshift shelters over the weekend as they braced for a second disaster in five months with the approach of Cyclone Rene.

Rene left one dead, uprooted trees and caused landslides and flooding as it swept across American Samoa on Saturday, gathering intensity as it continued across the South Pacific.

The islands are still recovering from the tsunamis which killed at least 118 people last September and thousands are still living in tents and other improvised lodgings after their homes were destroyed.

Second cyclone set to hit Cook Islands

Filed in:

A second tropical cyclone is forecast to hit the Cook Islands after a State of Disaster has been declared on the island of Aitutaki.

The Fiji Meteorological Service is forecasting Cyclone Rene to hit Nassau, Pukapuka, Suwarrow and nearby islands with gale force winds.

Meanwhile the New Zealand Air Force is on standby after Cyclone Pat struck Aitutaki yesterday.