The tropics directly north of New Zealand are the most active they’ve been this cyclone season says WeatherWatch.co.nz – and the weather news authority says more storms are highly likely in the coming weeks.
New Zealand was affected by ex-cyclone Fina back in December but since then tropical storm activity has been mostly stalled over the tropical islands and Queensland and hasn’t been drifting south.
The only exception was Cyclone Iggy which drifted down Australia’s west coast and gave residents north of Perth heavy rain and strong winds.
WeatherWatch.co.nz head weather analyst Philip Duncan says there is a continued high risk for flooding in Queensland, New South Wales and the tropical islands north of New Zealand for the rest of February.
“We are seeing very large areas of low pressure form and conditions in the tropical north are very slow moving – meaning even small lows can cause problems”.
Mr Duncan says Severe Cyclone Jasmine luckily passed halfway between New Caledonia and Vanuatu this week – sparing a direct hit to the capitals of both nations, Noumea and Port Vila. On Thursday Jasmine had winds gusting 260km/h and was centred 1400kms due north of Cape Reinga. The outer edges of Jasmine were 1100kms north of New Zealand.
WeatherWatch.co.nz predicts Cyclone Jasmine will weaken this weekend and edge closest to New Zealand over the next 24 hours before being pushed further east away from us over the weekend as a strong high moves in from the Tasman Sea.
“It’s these strong highs coming in from around Tasmania which are protecting New Zealand from these big storms. Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Queensland and New South Wales are all being hammered by storms – so far our summer may have been cooler and cloudier but these highs have stopped these storms and flood events from reaching us” says Mr Duncan.
Tropical Cyclone Jasmine is expected to fizzle out next week but a large area of instability remains due north of New Zealand – but for now, New Zealand remains protected so long as the highs continue to move in from our south west – and current models show that is likely to be the case for the next 10 days.