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.

Tropical Cyclone to form north east of NZ, may drift our way (+2 Maps)

As many of you have been seeing for a number of days now in long range models a tropical cyclone is expected to form in the next day or so in the Fiji / Tonga area. According to reliable computer modelling the storm will intensify as it drifts westwards and may become ‘severe’ in the tropics – then starts to curve southwards by next Friday/Saturday (+/- a day).

The American models (GFS) are the ones we display in our Maps page (courtesy of and this is now showing a direct hit to New Zealand in Northland and Auckland. The European models (ECMWF) shows it’s moving into the Tasman Sea and in a position that could affect either island of New Zealand. However it’s still early to know if this cyclone will directly affect us.

In previous years ex-cyclones have entirely missed New Zealand, not affecting our weather, but have been deadly due to causing dangerous rips and occasional very large waves. This is because the weather on land can be stunning and summer-like while these dangerous storms churn offshore driving in dangerous beach conditions which people may not be aware of. 

The models are still moving around quite a bit so it’s definitely too early to lock in how New Zealand may (or may not) be impacted by this likely tropical cyclone but over the next few days we should be able to start to fine tune the most likely path.

Certainly by Monday we’d expect to be in a better position to make a call on the most likely risk areas and if that includes New Zealand.

Tropical cyclones are normal for this time of the year, but clearly even the low end ones like the one we saw two weeks ago can be destructive. This storm is forecast to be a much bigger storm than Fehi was but once again it is still too early to know if it will impact the New Zealand area weatherwise and what shape or tracking it will take on as it leaves the tropics.

WHAT THE MODELS ARE SAYING TODAY FOR NEXT SATURDAY (Feb 17): (please note, these models will likely change in the coming days as they fine tune the possible future tracking – we’ll keep you posted).






Ken M on 15/02/2018 8:50pm

Why does it always feel like this weather just wants to come right in time for the weekends? I seriously believe that the weather is just out there to spite us. I mean that whenever a weekend comes around it starts to rain and become horrible outside, but right then on Monday afternoon it is so muggy and hot you cant breath!
Is it just me or is this getting legitimately annoying?

Bernadette on 8/02/2018 2:05am

Glad you mentioned the ocean temperature in your thoughts on climate change. It has definitely been unusual weather – with February weather in January and now it feels a bit like March!! So glad that Dargaville gets a mention by you guys, the west coast of Northland doesn’t seem to exist on other maps.

WW Forecast Team on 8/02/2018 2:09am

Thanks Bernadette – we’re constantly trying to get more detailed in more places. Not always accurate but a huge work in progress to do better each year. The marine heatwave is definitely impacting places lie Dargaville this year.
Philip Duncan

Kyle on 8/02/2018 12:04am

Yeah. I’m seeing the same thing with almost constant storms. Does anyone remember when we had fronts coming up the country. It’s lows now. Re this storm it’s interesting as it seems to be pushing out later and later. They usually power down here and blow themselves inside out on conversion but it looks like it might come down so slowly it will convert near the tropics and intesify before hitting. ??? If it does.

geraldo fernandez on 7/02/2018 11:21pm

I’ve lived in Auckland for 50 years and never seen summer weather like the last 2 years… the sheer volatility and amount of tropical storms swiping us seems to have grown massively.

This will be 3 in 3 weeks….in the “best” weather month of the year (and last year they were pretty common too)

Is this an ongoing trend from Global warming?

WW Forecast Team on 7/02/2018 11:28pm

Hi Geraldo. Very interesting question! It’s a bit hard to say it’s connected to Climate Change when we’re looking at a year or two – and especially one specific storm. Certainly a warm La Nina summer encourges more tropical storms and sometimes the placement of highs can allow a ‘corridor’ or storms/tropical lows to file through one after the other. I think at the end of the season forecasters and scientists will be able to look at how powerful and frequent these storms were and be in a better position to see how Climate Change may have influenced them. I think the marine heatwave around New Zealand is certainly playing a big role in the conditions around us too.

geraldo fernandez on 8/02/2018 12:14am

Thanks for taking the time to reply Phil – you guys do a great job keeping us weather obsessed informed.

I think I’m just extra grumpy as these are hitting on the weekends!!

Dave on 7/02/2018 10:37pm

Hi guys

The models do seem sure about the fact it will form into a cyclone anyway so that in itself is a warning for us.

The steering highs will determine where it goes so timing will be everything.

I will be watching things closely over the next few days, it sure is looking to be a large system so will have a big reach

As usual you guys are well ahead of any of our tax payers owned organisations, although to be fair the do have a tropical cyclone advisory


WW Forecast Team on 7/02/2018 10:41pm

Thanks Dave – it’s always hard to know the right day to start talking about the “potential” of a tropical cyclone, but with it being in the public domain models all of this week we thought now is about the right time. Will see what happens – but yes, it’s all about the highs and how they will steer this storm.

Cheers 🙂
Phil D

Related Articles