Tropical storm may directly hit NZ (+3 maps)

Updated 8:10am Monday -- A potentially damaging tropical storm is on the horizon for New Zealand as various computer models agree on a similar track and intensity of the predicted low. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says while tropical storms can be unpredictable the data suggests a cyclone is highly likely to form.  "Various computer models have been picking this storm for well over a week now but over the past 72 hours they have alligned and that has given us more confidence".

Mr Duncan says long range data suggests rain - which is desperately needed across very dry parts of the North Island and still some parts of Canterbury - is looking likely this weekend and may well be heavy.

Meanwhile in the past 24 hours both American and European weather modelling agencies have intensfied the low - forecasting central airpressure may be in the 970hPa range, giving it similar strength to a category 1 or 2 cyclone creating sustained winds above hurricane force (120km/h).

(Image - European wind map shows an intense tropical storm moving into northern NZ late Friday. This same organisation accurately predicted the track of cyclone Yasi in 2011).

The mountain ranges can then funnel those wind speeds higher, for example the eastern Waikato where the Kaimai Ranges might push those winds closer to 150km/h and higher.

"We still have a few days to go before we can be sure this isn't just the computers over-predicting as they do from time to time, but based on the current data we could expect damaging winds, slips and flooding as a result of this low. The models continue to paint a very serious picture and New Zealanders, especially in the north of the country, should be keeping up to date with the forecasts".

So far across Monday the models remain the same - predicting an intense and deep ex-clone passing over - or near to - Northland this Saturday. says tropical lows can be quite unpredictable when they head to New Zealand due to them transitioning from a warm centred tropical storm to a cold centred ex-cyclone.  This transition often happens just as the low moves in towards Northland and is frequently why long range forecasts for tropical systems chop and change.

However confidence remains moderate to high of this storm hitting New Zealand directly sometime between Friday and Sunday.  

The storm may also weaken before arriving or slide down either coastline - but the chances of that happening appear to be becoming less likely with each passing day. will have daily updates on the forecast low.

The Fiji Met Service said Sunday that they have moderate to high confidence the current tropical depression near New Caledonia will become a tropical cyclone by Tuesday.

Images / Above, US & NZ data plots a deep ex-cyclone moving into the upper North Island with severe gales and heavy rain on Friday/Saturday.  Below / Same data this time plotting the wind specifically.




Hi weatherwatch. Why are we still getting TC's this late? I have been chasing TC's for 15 years for surf and it seems very odd to get so many so late after March. Is this global warming effects? Cheers

Hi there, yes we think

Hi there, yes we think there's a fairly good chance that Climate Change is playing a role in a number of weather events around the world at the moment. In particular these late cyclones are unusual and follow on from a late summer and a mild Autumn. Invercargill has a high of 18 degrees today which is very mild for Southland in mid-May.  Climate change is measured over a long time so hard to know if this is definitely climate change or just a blip, but it certainly flows on from the record breaking warmth we've been seeing in New Zeaand these past few years (and other nations). Be interesting to see how winter unfolds in New Zealand this year.


- WeatherWatch



When will the Cyclone hit Palmerston North roughly?

This graphic shows where the

This graphic shows where the storm will beat various times. See our detailed Palmy forecasts here too.



Bruno mars


Im travellling from Rotorua to Aucks for Brunos sat night concert.will the roads be safe to drive on sat morning and bk sunday midday ? 

Hi there - rain and wind will

Hi there - rain and wind will be increasing on Sat morning and decreasing Sun afternoon. Keep an eye on the forecasts and rain and wind maps above. Worst of the weather for the upper North Island, at this stage, is from Sat afternoon/evening to noon Sunday.  However forecasts may change in the coming 48 hours so keep checking back.


likely to hit Dunedin

Is this likely to effect Dunedin??


Builder available after storm passes reasonable rates flfo from Perth


Im going to the bruno mars concert this Sunday at vector arena in auckland. Will the weather affect this? 

No idea sorry! But the worst

No idea sorry! But the worst of the weather should be overnight Saturday/Sunday morning in Auckland.  Sunday looks messy but not as severe at the moment (but anything could change - so check back for updates).


Flying In

Will cyclone Lusi hit much of the south island at all? im coming into christchurch from brisbane and was just wondering if it will be a rough flight

Hi there - it will likely be

Hi there - it will likely be windy and wet on Sunday in Chch but nothing too severe on the cards yet for Canterbury from this system.

Cheers - and have a good flight :)



Is it likely to affect international flights leaving Auckland?

Probably not - but if

Probably not - but if conditions at the airport itself get unsafe then that will likely cause delays or problems.


Reaching Land

Gidday, just wondering, what is your best guess for the day and time of it reaching land?


At this stage we think Sunday

At this stage we think Sunday AM.


Hi everyone - thank you all

Hi everyone - thank you all for your questions, however we cannot answer many of them because the storm is still too far out. Specific questions about the storms effects where you are will be tricky for us to answer with 4.5 million New Zealanders!  But if you have questions keep them coming and we'll try to address them in our news stories and video updates.  We're sharing as much as can - so can't really add much more at the moment!


WW Team


hi there we have a 10km walk/run this sat at motutapu we will be catching a ferry from auckland at 9.ooam.its an annual walk/run which is held at motutapu can you tell me what the weather will be like on the day thanks


Hauraki Gulf next week

Hi, planning a trip to Great Barrier Mon-Wed next week. What is your best guess as to conditions by then?

Westerlies may move in next

Westerlies may move in next week which will start to calm things down in the east eventually. Will have a better idea in the next day or two about next week.



Weather for Hamilton on Saturday

We have our engagement party outside on Saturday for 70 people. Do you think we may be rained out?

Good morning - at this stage

Good morning - at this stage we have a 60% chance of rain. Unsure if it will be rained out but rain is highly likely.  But it's hard to lock in where the rain bands will be this far out - as we still dont know how intense this storm will be by the time it arrives at the weekend.  Keep an eye on our Hamilton forecasts for the latest!



Hi just found this site from Nz herald link, rest assured have added to favourites.

Any ideas on what sort of swell this could generate?
Can we expect an easterly swell to arrive before the wind and rain on the east coast North Island or is that something that will linger once the weather has passed.

Thanks , great site

Hi there - thanks very much

Hi there - thanks very much for the feedbaclk. We are expecting significant swells of over 8 metres near the centre - may well get much bigger. As for NZ swells will be moving in from the north east roughly and look dangerous for areas in tyhe upper North Island.  Keep an eye on for more marine/surfing info.


A Day in the Domain - Te Aroha

Hi WW team

Just looking at the weather for A day in the Domain in Te Aroha this Sunday 16th March. As this is an outdoor event on the lowewr slopes of Mt Te Aroha and we need to inform stallholders, entertainers, etc - should we be looking at plan B now?



Te Aroha i-SITE Visitor Centre manager

Hi there - while we dont know

Hi there - while we dont know exactly where the centre of this low will track (which is key for Te Aroha's wind direction) we do know that the eastern Waikato is "highly exposed" to pockets of damaging gales this weekend.  In fact some western slopes might see gusts over 150km/h.  Too early to lock in - but it's sadly not looking too flash for Domain Day (although the locals are used to gale easterlies from time to time!)

Philip Duncan 

End of week weather for NZ...

Oh well...cyclone Lusi is on its way! May hit us in Fiji...we'll have to wait n see!


Thank you WW for the heads up on the potential of this system hitting us.

We live in Tauranga and were heading down to Taranaki to WOMAD this weekend. I cannot see the organisers letting the event go ahead with this system moving in.

Will have to keep an eye on the events page for the cancellations.

Then the question will be, 'Do we still head down to spend this weekend with family?' hmmmmmm . . . we will get down there no problem, but we may not get back if there is flooding, slips and general carnage of debris on our roads.

Buggar! Ah well, better hop to it and start looking for things around the section that need anchoring down and put away. 

Removing the mat and netting off the trampoline will definately be happening before Friday!!! 

Thanks WW, even though things are not 100% certain at this stage, its still giving me a chance to think ahead and prepare for the worst, High fives, guys! Much, much appreciated!


I can't see WOMAD organisers putting this off, will just have to grin & bear the weather, up till now weather's been great for this fantastic show

Hi there - certainly looks

Hi there - certainly looks rough for some parts but we can't say for sure what will be happening in Taranaki by then - but it does look as though the weather for much of the North Island will go downhill this weekend. Not everyone will have stormy weather but those that do could be quite exposed.

Cheers - and thanks for your support!  We try our best to give people advanced alerts without being too specific as these things do change, however we don't go public about something until we feel quite confident, which we did over the weekend.

Philip Duncan

Possible Cyclone or Sub Tropical Low.

Hi thanks for the heads up on this possibility for the coming weekend. I have a yachting event happening this coming weekend with teams from overseas so it is good to get an early warning so we can think about contingency plans.

Hi Mike - thanks for letting

Hi Mike - thanks for letting us know you find this service useful!

All the best for your back up plans


Any idea how this will

Any idea how this will compare to the low that hit Christchurch last week?  There was certainly not this much concern so many days out.  Will this be much worse then?

Hi there - very different set

Hi there - very different set up forecasting a tropical cyclone rather than the low that hit Chch.  Tropical storms operate in quite a different way and we can often seem them well in advance. Lows around the South Island (or further south) are far more chaotic.  The Chch low was certainly underpredicted by us (and many others said most forcasters seemed a little slow with that one) but sometimes southern lows can surprise us a bit with just a few days warning - we saw this tropical low 8 days ago and have been monitoring it since. This storm also has the potential to cause far more damage and impact many more people.



Thanks for that.  It's what I

Thanks for that.  It's what I was thinking, but I am always aware that having another major weather event so soon after the previous one can cause a little bit of 'over forecasting' to be safe when the first wasn't wasn't really detected.  Snow in this country is a classic example over the years.  Good luck iun the north, but keep the rain up there please!

To be on the safe side, I'll

To be on the safe side, I'll be warning the team at work, who have had a marquee under construction on the grass outside the building for the last several days. It's for an event on Thursday, so I'll be making sure they get it down quick smart after that! Thanks for the heads up. Better safe than sorry.

I for one am always very

I for one am always very grateful to WeatherWatch for the early notice of what potentially might be. People shouldn't worry about getting emergency kits ready - they should be ready and in place now.  I for one like the warnings as we are continually lower pressure than anywhere else in the Wellington region, and can get very low pressure indeed on the sou easter, and it is something I continually watch for. 972 can happen here while 10 km's away it is 1003 hPa, with the atmosphere literally exploding here. The way things are stacking up, this one certainly has the potential to do that, especially if it drags cold air in from the Southern Ocean. So, thank you WeatherWatch for early notification of what might be this weekend. 


I see latest models want to move it slightly east which would likely mean more severe wind than flooding but it sure looks nasty. Cheers. Dave

Not wishing for Cyclone!

I know some people over the last week or so have been wishing for a cyclone due to the lack of rain. Looks like they may get their wish. Personally I would never wish for a cyclone as I think they can cause more harm than good, although I understand we do need rain. Let's hope it's not too bad and we all get the rain we need. Isn't it great though that people are taking it seriously and asking questions. I guess the only control we have over the weather is our ability to prepare, and it seems that a lot of people are doing just that. Thanks for all the great work you do!

Otama Bay Wedding

ok so we are due to get married this saturday at Otama Bay in the Coromandel, when should i hit the panic button , Im using ,windguru ,windfinder and metvuw, and they seem to be pushing it slightly east at this stage, have we any historical similar forecast on which to go on ? Cheers Adam

Hi Adam - historical

Hi Adam - historical information sadly doesnt help much when predicting specifics from a new tropical storm, they all are very different.  This storm could track over Northland or east of us.  The risk is certainly moderate to high for all of the upper North Island.  All we can advise is to continue checking all your various sources along with our forecasts and make a decision once everyone is more confident - probably by Wednesday.

Philip Duncan 


Does the computer show the predicted path of this cyclone and whether the intensity will drop off or pick up?

Hi there - still not sure how

Hi there - still not sure how it will behave once it moves past NZ.  Check back in the next day or so - by then we should have a pretty good idea!



Could be some serious damage if we get high rainfall with how dry the North is. Will be keeping an eye on this one as we badly need rain. Still early days I guess.

Yes still very early days -

Yes still very early days - rain may be harder to forecast than the wind, as it sometimes is with these systems. Hopefully it weakens a bit and we end up with a just a good rainmaker!

- WW


Hey guys,


What is the worst possible outcome for Auckland with this storm? Would it be smart to put together a little 
"disaster kit" for the house next week.


Sounds dramatic but I am a little worried with how badthe models are looking.


Cheers :)  

Hi there - we don't like to

Hi there - we don't like to predict worst possible outcomes, especially not this far out. But our best advice is for you to visit - it's a great site that helps you plan for any possible disaster. Don't worry about this system just yet - still have a few more days to lock in who might be affected and how :)



A bit too early...

Given the unpredictability and variability of NZ weather I would have waited until at least three days out from the event, when certainty would have been higher, before putting an article out there for the media to latch on to. I've already heard this as the headline on the radio news when we were still 7 days out from the predicted event. This is way too early given the level of uncertainty for this type of weather event that far out.

I agree, 7 days out is way

I agree, 7 days out is way too early to be certain of what is going to happen and could serve to cause unnecessary panic. These models change so much from day to day and just because ecmwf predicted Yasi correctly in 2011 does not necessarily make them right in this case.

The story clearly states

The story clearly states potential risks with no absolutes.  MetService provides 3 day outlooks - but for the past 9 years WeatherWatch has focused on 7 to 14 day forecasts which is why Auckland Civil Defence and the NZ Govt hire us. We have been monitoring these models for 7 days before going public. In the US and Canada two week storm predictions are common.