The Swiss Cheese Effect - How to read NZ's Seasonal/Monthly forecasts and get more from them

We all know the generic forecast that often gets it wrong. "A dry weekend" says the weather - then you get a downpour and your gutters overflow. Welcome to New Zealand and why forecasters age here faster than most nations on earth!

Big doesn't always mean bad for everyone as Southern Ocean storm forms (+3 Maps)

UPDATED 7:51am Monday --- A huge area of low pressure is forming in the Southern Ocean creating a large storm which will span thousands of kilometres in diameter and brush New Zealand and south eastern Australia. It will affect our weather for about seven full days.

The storm itself won't directly cross NZ, but it's so large in size it can't help but swipe us.

Australia's smokey haze to continue lingering across NZ (+InfoGraphics)

As dozens of Australian fires continue to burn, some out of control, the air pressure set up over the Tasman Sea means New Zealand's skies continue to be polluted.

VIDEO: Cyclone Rita near Vanuatu, plus a Southern Ocean storm for NZ next week is tracking two storm systems, one right now north of NZ near Vanuatu (Cyclone Rita) and the other is a developing storm in the Southern Ocean for next week.

The storm next week will likely bring gales, heavy rain and big seas around parts of New Zealand as a low at least three times the size of Australia gets stuck south of us.

VIDEO: Cyclone Rita forms near Vanuatu but most of NZ hotter & drier than normal

The first tropical cyclone of the South Pacific Cyclone Season has formed near Vanuatu, we have the latest tracking.

In NZ we take a closer look at the extended hot and dry spell continuing in many regions. For some the entire week ahead will be dry and mostly sunny and will feel more like summer.

Cyclone Rita forms near Vanuatu, high pressure should block it from NZ (+2 Maps)

The first tropical cyclone of 2019-2020 season has formed just east of Vanuatu and will peak in strength over the next 24 hours before weakening.

For now Cyclone Rita isn't forecast to be a major headache, likely drifting south for a day then curving westwards into Vanuatu - but by then it may have already lost its tropical cyclone title and be just a tropical rainmaker.

WeatherWatch partners with IBM for Climate forecasting in 2020 will soon be providing more regular commentary on seasonal and monthly forecasting as climate news dominates NZ's headlines.

Australia: Hot air raising fire danger, Kalgoorlie forecast to reach 44C Sunday

A mass of hot air will sweep across Australia during the next week, elevating fire danger ratings in multiple states and territories.

Animation: Next wave of Australian smoke crossing Tasman Sea for NZ tonight

Another wave of smoke from the Australian bush fires is currently crossing the Tasman Sea and will track over the North Island tonight/overnight.

For those with clear skies it may make the near full moon rising tonight or setting tomorrow morning a more orange colour for a time. 

Extremely dry weather fuels Australian bush fires, but air pollution levels in NZ remain 'good'

(+8 Maps) --- Another plume of smoke from the Aussie bush fires will track over NZ later today and tonight as the weather conditions in Australia get drier and hotter. says the heat and dry will continue in the week ahead with daytime temperatures into the 30s and 40s across Australia.