Drier, calmer, warmer weather heading to NZ + the tropics wakes up (+6 Maps)

NZ is about to enter a calmer, drier, phase of weather as high pressure finally increases. At the same time the tropics north of NZ is starting to wake up with very active wet weather north of this high pressure belt - but the highs should keep these tropical lows and storms away from NZ for now. 

Australia: Cyclone Blake forms near Broome, WA (+9 Maps)

Extensive Update: A Tropical Cyclone has been named by Australian forecasters. Tropical Cyclone Blake, near Broome, is currently Category 1 but may climb up another notch to Category 2.

This means it will likely bring some flooding and wind damage at the lower levels to the western desert side of Australia.

Christmas Day: We track the developing downpours + warm & cool spots (+3 Maps)

UPDATED MONDAY --- We have an even more detailed update, taking a look at rain maps for 6am, 12noon and 6pm on December 25th.

Generally speaking high pressure is nearby and showers will expand across New Zealand thanks to daytime heating. It means while some areas may have a high risk of a shower or downpour, they will be a bit hit and miss.

Australia: Dramatic Saturday cool down coming for Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart

It's a sweltering end to the week in southern Australia - but by Saturday some places will be 25 degrees cooler.

The hot weather is being caused by a tropical northerly flow which is today spreading right down across Australia's interior and exiting in the south over Adelaide, Melbourne and even down to Hobart.

VIDEO: Rain clouds gather over NZ, Aussie deals with extreme heat

A low on Tuesday will bring much needed rain to both islands of New Zealand as high pressure over Australia expands bringing a heatwave.
We break down which regions in NZ are most exposed to the warm and wet airflows to kick off this week - then who is more exposed to the cooler changes.
This week in NZ will feel more spring-like with wind

Aussie Heatwave: Much of inland Australia 40C next week, temperatures may hit 50C

Heatwave conditions persist in Western Australia and will spread across the country with record challenging heat.
On top of the heat, sustained winds of more than 30 km/h are likely to keep the bushfire threat high.

Australia: Severe storms hit SE Queensland

Brisbane has been hit by a severe thunderstorm for the second time in three days.

Intense thunderstorms developed over southeast Queensland on Friday afternoon, with multiple severe storm cells moving from south to north across areas including the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

'I'm struggling breathing' - Sydney air turns 'hazardous' today as fires worsen (+4 Maps)

It's becoming more than a nightmare, it's becoming reality in Sydney that the bushfires are affecting the health of Australians.

With light winds in the region smoke and air pollution is only building and today air pollution levels in Australia's largest city hit the highest level possible "hazardous", according to AQICN.

Before & after photos (x6) show White Island eruption captured by GNS cameras

At 2:10pm the volcano images at GeoNet show sunny blue skies over White Island. The violent eruption was a minute later at 2:11pm. The next image update 10 minutes later at 2:20pm shows the dramatic difference.

You can view GeoNet's Volcano Cameras here.

VIDEO: White Island weather update + NZ forecast to Saturday

We track the weather conditions around Bay of Plenty and White Island plus wind flows in the coming days. We also take a look at where the rain clouds are lining up around NZ over the next week with some wet areas getting dry weather and some dry regions getting wet weather.