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Significant new cyclone threat emerging EXCLUSIVE

Long range computer models, which accurately predicted Cyclone Yasi’s exact path and strength up to to 10 days in advance, are now picking a new cyclone is going to form directly north of New Zealand in the next 7 days reports

Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says the potential cyclone could pose a threat to several nations including New Zealand.  “The long range computer models are clearly showing a tropical depression forming somewhere around New Caledonia this coming weekend and by early next week it may well be a severe tropical cyclone”.

Mr Duncan says Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand will all be at some level of risk from the system if it follows the current modelling.  “While we’ve found the long range models to be bang on all summer it doesn’t mean this will 100% happen.  We need to monitor the daily updates and we’ll do our best at informing New Zealanders of the potential risk”.

Image: ECMWF weather map showing a sizeable tropical cyclone north of NZ and a small low east of Gisborne on Wednesday next week.  It’s still too early to know the exact path beyond this map. says the chance of this next tropical storm reaching New Zealand is “moderate” based on current modelling.

“As with all tropical lows it doesn’t take much of a shift to spare New Zealand – we’ll certainly be hoping for that – but considering we’ve had four named storms reach our country in just the past few weeks it wouldn’t be out of the question for this to do the same”.

The global models, produced by ECMWF in Europe, show a large scale cyclone, potentially category 4 strength, tracking south east north of New Zealand.  The maps currently only go as far as Wednesday of next week so beyond that comes down to guess work at this early stage.

“This is simply a heads up that a tropical storm may be forming next week.  It’s too early to say where it will track for sure but the current predicted position does pose a risk to northern New Zealand” says Duncan.

GFS, which also produce long range maps, are predicting a new low will form in the Coral Sea by this weekend however GFS don’t forecast as long range as ECMWF.

All maps are showing a large belt of unstable air which stretches from western Australia, along the northern coastline and then towards Fiji.  It’s this area that has seen all the cyclones form this summer and numerous tropical lows. 

Following severe Cyclone Yasi the tropical activity dropped dramatically north of New Zealand however conditions have been gradually building over the past week. says we are only at the half way mark of this cyclone season and NIWA predicts another five or six tropical cyclones are yet to form.

With such a strong La Nina in force it’s likely the cyclone season will run later this year predicts



Guest on 15/02/2011 9:56am

well interesting how hard it is to find any mention of this on your site the day after, did this poss storm dissapear ?

WW Forecast Team on 15/02/2011 5:57pm

If you’ll see a couple of comments down we said on Tuesday we’d need to wait another 24 hours before we had a better update.  It’s too early to have daily updates as the storm hasn’t developed yet!

We will have another update later today.

– WeatherWatch

Guest on 16/02/2011 12:31am

i guess my comment was hinting at how hard it is for users to find historic or day or two old data from your organisation, I had to use my history to find this ? might just be me being dumb.

WW Forecast Team on 16/02/2011 12:50am

We keep our news stories listed by date if you click on the NEWS button at the top of the page.  It would then be visible on Monday’s listings.  Apart from keeping news stories we keep no other data as we’re mainly a news service at this stage.

All the best

– WW

Dave on 14/02/2011 11:40pm

Thanks guys. I will go with you on that.
I agree it is always very interesting to track these storms, they are so unpredictable but somehow the computer modelling these days is incredibly accurate.

The big tides next week would tend to add weight to the thought that we may see something.
They do seem to go together that is for sure.

Dave on 14/02/2011 7:24pm

What is your take on the threat for next week now Phil? The maps seem to be dismissing it now with a possible low going well out to the north east of NZ?

WW Forecast Team on 14/02/2011 8:17pm

Hi Dave,

Well we’re still certain the models are correct in picking a severe cyclone north of NZ and around the tropics.  As we said yesterday we don’t know the path beyond this time next week but the fact there’s a low east of NZ is the only reason we considered NZ at a possible risk – it could help pull the cyclone southwards, hitting BOP and East Cape.   Clearly today’s models show a differnt path but we need to see a few more updates.  The cone of uncertainty is very wide.  We’ll need another 24 hours before we can be more certain.  However our focus on these cyclones will always been on their progress rather than the risk to NZ so we’ll be following this potential cyclone regardless of its direct threat to NZ.

– WeatherWatch

Nikki on 14/02/2011 9:44am

So how bad could it possible get do you guys reackon or is it to soon to speculate may help calm my paranoia? And could you guys tell me what the 25th is looking like yet please?
Thanks guys @ WW =)

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