Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Severe TC Zelia intensifies, races towards NZ

Severe Tropical Cyclone Zelia has continued to rapidly intensify Sunday while roaring towards New Zealand at 44km/h.  This is significantly faster than Vania was travelling on Friday, at just 9km/h.

Zelia’s air pressure has continued to drop, now measuring 957hPa, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Zelia’s winds have lifted further with winds now averaging 155km/h and gusts up to 220km/h, reports

Full details and Maps below…

Colourised Infrared map showing Vania (centre) and Zelia (top left with “eye”) – click to animate – Courtesy: MTSAT / NOAA

The cyclone is shortly about to pass over 160 degrees East, which means it falls out of Australian authority hands and shifts to the Fiji Meteorological Service.

Despite her current intensity the deep depression is still projected to weaken significantly in the coming 48 hours as she moves out of the extra warm waters of the Coral Sea and into the Tasman. says it’s quite rare to see two tropical systems joining forces.  Vania remains near Norfolk Island and is currently much weaker in comparison. estimates the centres of the two systems are about 1400kms apart – about the same length as New Zealand.

Follow on Facebook – for Breaking Weather News on your Facebook wall.  Simply click here to Like us

Sea temperatures under Zelia are around 28 degrees, compared to the much cooler waters around New Zealand which are only just above 20 in the north.  Warm water is what fuels cyclones.

Waves near the centre of Zelia are estimated to be over 10 metres high, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Meanwhile predicts that Norfolk Island, an Australian island 700kms north west of New Zealand, population 2100, could get hit fairly hard by the storm on Monday evening.

Both the remnants of Vania and Zelia should set in across New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday with predicting rain will be the main feature.

The weather news authority says while winds may reach severe gale in some places it will most likely be the rain that cause problems, with neither system maintaining “cyclone strength” winds. predicts western and the upper South Island and western and northern facing regions of the North Island will be most exposed. 

Both systems look set to make a west coast landfall overnight Tuesday/Wednesday morning, predicts, with the remnants of Vania pushing into the South Island and the remnants of Zelia pushing into the North Island and possibly upper South Island.

Out of the two low pressure systems Zelia is likely to have more energy, wind and rain. 

But there is good news – the system is predicted to drop rain over thirsty farms in both islands, but because of its fast movement it should clear the country by Thursday.

The fast movement also reduces the chances of flooding for those regions further away from the centres of the lows.

Zelia’s predicted path / Bureau of Meteorology 

Zelia’s projected path, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre



westcoast on 16/01/2011 5:31pm

I think its time to start pulling out the chocks….
Zelia is moving fast and is very intense
and is “transfering energy” and re activating the remains of Vania (and even new cloud bands are developing arond that)
also Zelia is going to move very close to the west coast of the NI as it moves SE
it will still have alot of wind near the center
where the center crosses will get severe gales I would say
hard to know exactly where the rain bands are going to develop by I reckon going on what is happening witht the cloud sheets ahead of Zelia, its going to move across the NI with some big rain bands , myself

Craig on 16/01/2011 1:46pm

Great animation link, thanks.
Here’s a satellite image of Zelia on Sunday 16th:

Source: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response.

Jason on 16/01/2011 11:05am

Decent rain anyway for Canterbury, models suggest a good 30-40mm at this stage which will be a nice drink for the garden.
This all depends on what happens in the next 24 hours though, could be some brief heavy falls tuesday night.

Rachel jennings on 16/01/2011 7:57am


What is the expected track of Vania and is she lining up the South Island for a hit or to brush past? Just wondering if Canterbury is going to be affected.

Thank you

WW Forecast Team on 16/01/2011 8:06am

Hi Rachel,

The two lows will likely completely merge by late Weds/Thurs and pass over Canterbury from the north west.  Likely to drive in a strong southerly change afterwards.  Some rain and wind but nothing too severe at this early stage.

– WeatherWatch weekends

Related Articles