Significant new cyclone threat emerging


Long range computer models, which accurately predicted Cyclone Yasi's exact path and strength up to to 10 days in advance, are now picking a new cyclone is going to form directly north of New Zealand in the next 7 days reports

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the potential cyclone could pose a threat to several nations including New Zealand.  "The long range computer models are clearly showing a tropical depression forming somewhere around New Caledonia this coming weekend and by early next week it may well be a severe tropical cyclone".

Mr Duncan says Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand will all be at some level of risk from the system if it follows the current modelling.  "While we've found the long range models to be bang on all summer it doesn't mean this will 100% happen.  We need to monitor the daily updates and we'll do our best at informing New Zealanders of the potential risk".

Image: ECMWF weather map showing a sizeable tropical cyclone north of NZ and a small low east of Gisborne on Wednesday next week.  It's still too early to know the exact path beyond this map. says the chance of this next tropical storm reaching New Zealand is "moderate" based on current modelling.

"As with all tropical lows it doesn't take much of a shift to spare New Zealand - we'll certainly be hoping for that - but considering we've had four named storms reach our country in just the past few weeks it wouldn't be out of the question for this to do the same".

The global models, produced by ECMWF in Europe, show a large scale cyclone, potentially category 4 strength, tracking south east north of New Zealand.  The maps currently only go as far as Wednesday of next week so beyond that comes down to guess work at this early stage.

"This is simply a heads up that a tropical storm may be forming next week.  It's too early to say where it will track for sure but the current predicted position does pose a risk to northern New Zealand" says Duncan.

GFS, which also produce long range maps, are predicting a new low will form in the Coral Sea by this weekend however GFS don't forecast as long range as ECMWF.

All maps are showing a large belt of unstable air which stretches from western Australia, along the northern coastline and then towards Fiji.  It's this area that has seen all the cyclones form this summer and numerous tropical lows. 

Following severe Cyclone Yasi the tropical activity dropped dramatically north of New Zealand however conditions have been gradually building over the past week. says we are only at the half way mark of this cyclone season and NIWA predicts another five or six tropical cyclones are yet to form.

With such a strong La Nina in force it's likely the cyclone season will run later this year predicts



well interesting how hard it

well interesting how hard it is to find any mention of this on your site the day after, did this poss storm dissapear ?

If you'll see a couple of

If you'll see a couple of comments down we said on Tuesday we'd need to wait another 24 hours before we had a better update.  It's too early to have daily updates as the storm hasn't developed yet!

We will have another update later today.

- WeatherWatch

i guess my comment was

i guess my comment was hinting at how hard it is for users to find historic or day or two old data from your organisation, I had to use my history to find this ? might just be me being dumb.

We keep our news stories

We keep our news stories listed by date if you click on the NEWS button at the top of the page.  It would then be visible on Monday's listings.  Apart from keeping news stories we keep no other data as we're mainly a news service at this stage.

All the best

- WW


Thanks guys. I will go with you on that.
I agree it is always very interesting to track these storms, they are so unpredictable but somehow the computer modelling these days is incredibly accurate.

The big tides next week would tend to add weight to the thought that we may see something.
They do seem to go together that is for sure.

New Cyclone

What is your take on the threat for next week now Phil? The maps seem to be dismissing it now with a possible low going well out to the north east of NZ?

Hi Dave, Well we're still

Hi Dave,

Well we're still certain the models are correct in picking a severe cyclone north of NZ and around the tropics.  As we said yesterday we don't know the path beyond this time next week but the fact there's a low east of NZ is the only reason we considered NZ at a possible risk - it could help pull the cyclone southwards, hitting BOP and East Cape.   Clearly today's models show a differnt path but we need to see a few more updates.  The cone of uncertainty is very wide.  We'll need another 24 hours before we can be more certain.  However our focus on these cyclones will always been on their progress rather than the risk to NZ so we'll be following this potential cyclone regardless of its direct threat to NZ.

- WeatherWatch

So how bad could it possible

So how bad could it possible get do you guys reackon or is it to soon to speculate may help calm my paranoia? And could you guys tell me what the 25th is looking like yet please?
Thanks guys @ WW =)

Length of cylcone season

Hi, does all this recent activity indicate a longer than normal cyclone season? Any predictions on when the season will be 'over'?


Hi Tom - the increased

Hi Tom - the increased activity does indicate that this season might be longer - but mostly we're putting it down to La Nina and the warmer waters.  While La Nina has almost certainly peaked now, and is showing signs of weakening according to some organisations, the waters may remain warmer than average as late as the start of winter.  So we could see increased activity until late Autumn (early to mid may). 

In saying that NZ may have seen the worst of La Nina - we really can't be sure though. 

We'll continue to bring coverage of cyclones and tropical storms to our readers and won't dismiss any just because they may not have an impact on NZ...we're very aware many of you share our passion of tracking these remarkable systems.

- WeatherWatch

Re: Significant new cyclone threat emerging

So in 2011 we have had:

Ex- Tropical Cyclone Zaka (Off East Cape and Gisborne )
Ex- Tropical Cyclone Wilma
Ex- Tropical Cyclone Zelia & Vania

Is that them all so far??

And now we may get another one?

Also did someone get the name wrong??? as Yasi was the one that hit Queensland??

Hi Stu  you're bang on! 

Hi Stu  you're bang on!  Although some forecasting organisations believe Wilma was still technically a tropical cyclone when she reached New Zealand, including the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Yasi formed north of Fiji and tracked north of NZ westwards towards Queensland - after she passed, that area north of NZ went very quiet but is now re-energising.

As far as this one is concerned, we simply have no idea if it poses a serious threat to NZ at this early stage but it certainly poses a threat to the tropical islands directly north of us.

Unlike government forecasters likes to comments on severe weather in other nations and we like to provide weather news for the smaller nations north of us, which is why we talk about these cyclones in advance.  We cover all tropcial storms within our satellite map area (to the right of the page).   This storm, or tropical low ,may impact NZ too.  It's worth pointing out that sub-tropical lows can be just as dangerous for us - the one that caused all the flooding in Auckland a few weeks back wasn't a cyclone at all, infact was just a small low that quickly formed just north of Northland. 

We must certainly be in the record books, or nearing the record books, for the most amount of named storms that have moved into NZ waters this cyclone season!


Philip Duncan

That's right. Full

That's right. Full moon+perigee again this weekend. Every one a coconut so far this season. It means rain and wind this way just after the weekend, kingtides that may bring flooding, also an earthquake risk. Better to be warned and take precautions than ignore and be sorry.

Classic confirmation bias

Classic confirmation bias Yasi had already developed into a cyclone 4 days before the new moon. A 6.8 earthquake occurred near Chile on 11 Feb, 8 days after the new moon and 7 days before the full moon. But don't worry, you're clientelle won't notice and I'm sure you won't tell them.

Howling at the moon again....

Here you can read all about weather forecasting for the "lunatics":

Thanks Ken

Aucklanders and the rest of the North Island can now relax in the knowledge that this cyclone won't be affecting them

But it is bound to affect

But it is bound to affect them. I have extreme weather affecting the whole country. Don't understand your post.

New Cyclone

Thanks for the heads up guys. I was just thinking we definately won't be getting a cyclone in the next week or so and then I read your article.

It is great to get this info guys so keep up the great work.


Models this far out can be

Models this far out can be simply no more than fancifull though
as the current run this morning has it moving away to the ESE and not affecting NZ
but then the ECMWF model run overnight is often alot diffferent, then it can come back into align again for the late afternoon run
this is all a long way out, and it might not happen
but the long range models have been doing a great job so far this summer
Interesting that another low has moved SW from the Fiji area then S just east of us ....lots of warm water to the east of NZ currently


I have to say the same. I will be watching your site for more information on this



You guys....

Hey... Can I pretend that I'm someone saying "thanks, what a great site" too, when in fact my real name is Ken, or Phillip or Richard....

Yeah Right!