Weather Video: Severe Cyclone Gita aims for Tonga + NZ’s outlook to Saturday

Category 4 and possibly soon Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Gita is today and tonight heading to Tonga. It is expected to pass directly over the main island and capital, or at least brush the tiny island with the storm’s full force.

Tonga: It doesn't get much worse than this, Cyclone Gita likely to make direct hit (+6 Maps)

The latest forecast for Tonga is not something you want to see - a forecast for already Category 4 Severe Cyclone Gita to reach Category 5 status (the highest on the scale) in the Tonga area and likely make a direct hit over the top of Tonga and the capital Nuku'alofa on the main island Tongatapu tonight and early Tuesday.

Severe Cyclone Gita to track over southern Tonga, later Norfolk Island & NZ area (+8 Maps)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita is a Category 3 storm as it starts to curve towards southern Tonga today and Monday. The powerful storm is likely to become a Category 4 cyclone as it turns and tracks westwards over the next 24 to 48 hours.

How much more Rain is coming Sunday/Monday? We break it down for you (+5 Maps)

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New Zealand is smothered in moisture-rich subtropical air creating low cloud, fog, mist, drizzle and areas of quite heavy rain. This set up continues across Sunday and into Monday and while it mostly clears into Tuesday a narrow band of rain will linger over the North Island with nothing to blow it away due to increasing air pressure. It should mostly fade away by Wednesday.

Tropical Cyclone Gita now a 'Severe' Cat 3 storm, Cat 4 expected (+6 Maps)

UPDATED 10:20pm --- Gita is now a 'Severe' Category 3 Tropical Cyclone and is forecast to grow into a Category 4 storm as it churns around a number of South Pacific islands to the north east of New Zealand.

The cyclone has caused considerable damage to Samoa where a 'state of disaster' has been declared, according to Radio New Zealand Pacific.

How much rain will you get this weekend? The latest rainfall estimates (+4 Maps)

The low this weekend north west of New Zealand is large but weak and it's tapping into moisture rich sub-tropical air. A blocking high pressure system to the east of the country is slowing down these rain bands.

Here's the latest outlook by our meteorologists at the Weather Company showing forecast rainfall accumulations in 12 hour segments for New Zealand.

Weather Video: Sub-tropical humidity, rain and drizzle moving in

A large but fairly weak sub-tropical low will drag down more humid northerlies this weekend and areas of rain - some slow moving heavy falls are in the mix but so too are drizzle patches and dry spells.

The low isn’t very strong so the rain bands will weaken in some areas due to the mountains and ranges getting in the way.

Sub-tropics about to bring days of rain to some parts of New Zealand (+5 Maps)

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A low just north west of New Zealand is slowly moving southward, bringing locally heavy rain to the country this weekend.

Northern parts of the North Island will be under the influence of the low pressure system for a number of days and rain accumulation will continue and increase through this weekend.

Weather Video: All eyes on the sub-tropics as low pressure grows

High pressure dominates a large chunk of New Zealand but a weak low over the next few days will help to drive in narrow areas of rain, some heavy falls and some drizzly.

Tropical Cyclone to form north east of NZ, may drift our way (+2 Maps)

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As many of you have been seeing for a number of days now in long range models a tropical cyclone is expected to form in the next day or so in the Fiji / Tonga area. According to reliable computer modelling the storm will intensify as it drifts westwards and may become 'severe' in the tropics - then starts to curve southwards by next Friday/Saturday (+/- a day).