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Tropical Cyclone Funa is edging towards New Zealand, Sunday, as its first outter bands move over northern parts of the country.  The Radio Network’s Head Weather Analyst, Philip Duncan, says gale force winds and high cloud are now moving down the country.  “From Cape Reinga down the east coast to the Hauraki Gulf winds are reaching over 100km/h in coastal areas.  The next few days are not days to be out at sea anywhere around New Zealand”.
Duncan says large swells and waves will pound northern and eastern beaches over the next few days with the west coast’s turn starting on Tuesday.  He warns dangerous beachs such as Piha may be closed.
Funa is currently a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone, out of a possible Category 5.  That means sustained winds of up to 210km/h, however the severe storm is expected to weaken as it continues to move towards the country.  The cyclone is expected to be a strong category 1 storm as it moves into the Tasman Sea later on Monday or Tuesday with sustained winds of 119 to 153kmh at its centre.  “Most of those severe gales will be within a few hundred kilometres of the ‘eye’ and at this stage all computer models I’ve seen are projecting the Cyclone’s centre will miss Northland by several hundred kilometres, so land areas are only being ‘grazed’ by this storm”.  However Duncan says he expects a number of rain and wind warnings for many parts of the country.  “This storm will affect the entire country.  From heavy rain in the north and west, to gales in the east”.
 On a positive note decent rainfalls are expected for parched farms in Bay of Plenty, Waikato and northern regions of the South Island.



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