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.

Hail as big as golfballs pummels Timaru (+Pics & Videos)

BREAKING NEWS --- Dramatic downpours are passing over Timaru and Oamaru right now and one downpour a short time ago blanketed Timaru in thick and heavy hail. has received confirmed reports of broken windows and roofing from the large hail storm.

The downpours may contain thunder as well but should ease this afternoon. 

Is a 'Big Dry' forming in New Zealand already? (+3 Maps)

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2019 has been drier than normal in many regions and we're only now entering what is typically our driest months ahead. What does this mean for our country? has been closely monitoring the patterns lately and notes that for this time of year rainfall is down in many regions. 

PHOTOS: Fire burns as winds churn through Auckland

Gales with gusts over 100km/h are expected for much of today in Auckland making it harder to battle the fire at Sky City.

Weather not on the side of Auckland firefighters today, we have the latest wind graphs

As firefighters continue to battle the blaze at Sky City, weather forecasters are focused on more gales coming in to the city today.

A cold front is moving through the city this morning bringing heavy showers, some squally with hail. (Squally showers are when winds suddenly ramp up, often over gale force, with very little warning).

VIDEO: Stormy Wednesday, warmer Labour Weekend

**PLEASE NOTE: Due to the fire at Sky City we have NO VIDEO UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY as our studio in the city has been closed for the day**


Gale force winds may cause issues on Wednesday, we have 7 maps + timing

A very windy Wednesday is coming for large parts of the North Island with gales exceeding 120km/h in some exposed areas. Winds this strong may cause powercuts, make driving more dangerous and in some exposed areas may even cause damage to weak buildings/sheds.

Dangerous western marine & beach conditions this week, waves of 9M possible (+3 Maps)

With a burst of gale force winds, possibly hurricane force at sea for a time, wave heights are going to be big in the west of both islands this week.

This makes for dangerous marine and beach conditions along the western side of the country, in particular the western side of the North Island which is more exposed to this set up.