Severe tropical cyclone Jasmine remains a category 4 storm this morning as it continues its trek directly north of New Zealand.
The Fiji Met Service says Jasmine is moving south east at 18km/h.
Jasmine has sustained winds of 213km/h near the centre with gusts to 260km/h according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.
The cyclone should start to gradually weaken in about 24 hours.
Cyclones have 5 categories – 5 being the strongest, like Cyclone Yasi last year which walloped rural Queensland.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says Jasmine has a fortuitous path, taking it halfway between Port Vila in Vanuatu and Noumea in New Caledonia – sparing both tourist destinations a direct highly damaging hit.
However some islands in between will not be so lucky – a direct hit could have catastrophic consequences for some coastal communities.
Cyclone Jasmine will continue to curve towards New Zealand as it drifts more south in the next couple of days but an incoming high from the Tasman Sea is expected to then turn Jasmine more easterly and away from NZ.
The storm is unlikely to come any closer than 800kms to New Zealand.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the storm is unlikely to affect New Zealand weather-wise but swimmers and boaties along the east coast from Cape Reinga to Gisborne should monitor sea conditions as offshore storms like this can create deadly rips along New Zealand beaches – even if the weather here is settled and sunny.
on 9/02/2012 2:07am
Given the vast distance that Jasmine is currently sitting away from us, as well as the projected track- what are the chances of this cyclone generating enough North swell to reach our shores? Most surf sites are dulling down the influence in swell levels from this system if any, but given this system is a Cat 4 and it will be tracking above us with very little in the way of landmass between NZ and Jasmine- we should see something ride able along the North Islands East Coast come this weekend? Thanks
on 9/02/2012 2:13am
Hi Blake – excellent question and one we’re monitoring daily. Currently the swells maps show Jasmine’s swells may JUST reach Cape Reinga, but it may not be big enough to generate bigger swells or rips to our beaches. We’re advising the public to be more vigilant of sea conditions before swimming simply as a precaution with it so close, but at this stage nothing too serious is coming. However as with any tropical cyclone it would pay to check in daily and certainly check marine conditions before heading out to surf or swim etc.
on 9/02/2012 12:47am
its taken a more SSE track now…and there is a troughy area to the south of it…
if it maintains the SSE track then the remains could end up down this way
on 9/02/2012 2:15am
Pretty much exactly what we were expecting but the incoming high should push it back east again on Saturday. In the meantime it should close the gap from 1200+kms to about 800kms. We consider anything within 1000kms something to closely monitor, but at this stage we’re fairly confident that the high will win this fight – it’s certainly much bigger!