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Cyclone developing north west of NZ

That isn’t a headline you want to see a few days out from the start of the Summer holidays – but it’s looking increasingly likely that a tropical low south east of Papua New Guinea will become a tropical cyclone within 24 hours.

It is then likely to drift towards New Zealand – weakening as it does so.  However it could re-energise once it potentially moves in to the country before New Years eve.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology yesterday said the risk was “high” that the low would become a cyclone on either Wednesday or Thursday.  This morning it became a tropical low.   The potential cyclone is not expected to affect Queensland coast.

Earlier this month head weather analyst Philip Duncan said he thought the chances of an ex-cyclone coming to New Zealand from the Coral Sea was considered average or even slightly above average this summer due to La Nina.  “While I appreciate La Nina isn’t as strong as last year we think the risk for an ex-cyclone reaching New Zealand is fairly high this summer, simply due to the increased risk of deep lows forming in the Coral Sea”.

But overall, less cyclones are expected this summer – and therefore, overall, New Zealand has a reduced chance of a storm.

NIWA says the chance of an ex-cyclone is reduced this summer but Dr James Renwick told that doesn’t mean we should be complacent. 

He says the reduced number relates to the fact that overall there will likely be less tropical storms this summer based on numerous models and forecasters – but that there is always the potential for an ex-cyclone to hit New Zealand.

NIWA says on average, nine named tropical cyclones occur in the southwest Pacific – this year they’re expecting 5 – 8.

Philip Duncan says while the models still aren’t too sure of where this possible cyclone, or tropical storm, will exactly track, most models agree it will come close enough to northern New Zealand to warrant an early heads up.  “We’re not saying a cyclone is coming, as it will have likely weakened significantly by the time it reaches us, but a low with tropical origins does look as though it will track towards the upper North Island by mid to late next week”.

Mr Duncan said campers and trampers don’t need to change their plans, but are advised to check in daily with the latest weather news, in case there are any weather warnings issued later next week which could affect them.

So what are the models saying? 

“All forecasters use a variety of different models, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.  As of Wednesday morning two of the models we rely on the most show the low weakening considerably as it moves towards Northland, then it may join forces with a Tasman Sea system and cross the country between the 29th and 31st” says Mr Duncan.



Dave on 21/12/2011 3:08am

This sure is interesting. Nobody (including the cyclone probably) knows where it is going to go. Very unpredictable.

Hopefully it will go over the top and out east. I look forward to your thoughts later in the week


Guest on 21/12/2011 3:01am

Yeah…it’s the naughty room for you, Dunky!!! After all the crapola weather we’ve had of late, this is NOT what we want to hear matey!!

Nicola on 20/12/2011 11:02pm

Any more headlines like that and I might have to take you off my Christmas card list!!

LM on 21/12/2011 12:46am

Lol @ Nicola.

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