Tropical Cyclone Vania continues to strengthen today as it moves towards New Caledonia reports WeatherWatch.co.nz.
The cyclone has been upgraded to a category 2 cyclone, out of a scale that goes up to 5. WeatherWatch.co.nz forecasters predict it may reach Cat 3 or 4 strength in the next five days.
The central air pressure of has fallen to 977hPa and is expected to make a direct hit to New Caledonia’s captial, Noumea, by the end of tomorrow.
Noumea is home to about 100,000 people and news agencies report the city is now bracing itself for the cyclone.
WeatherWatch.co.nz has increasing confidence that the tropical depression will make a direct pass over the North Island midway through next week.
Head weather analyst Philip Duncan says it’s still a long way out but the various computer models are this morning all predicting the cyclone will push towards the North Island around Wednesday.
“We think somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday of next week Vania, or the remnants of Vania, will cross the North Island. While our confidence of the tropical low reaching New Zealand has increased a little today our confidence at this early stage still remains low that Vania will bring severe weather”.
Mr Duncan says at this time of the year early discussion of future stormy weather is critical. “During the peak of summer people are on holiday, they’re going camping, tramping, sailing and some love to just switch off from the media. We aren’t trying to alarm anyone, we just want people who may be heading off on holiday to simply be aware that it may be a bit wet and windy for a time next week”.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the data still hasn’t lined up 100% yet with GFS models showing the low moving towards Northland and ECMWF data showing the low pushing across Taranaki and central NZ, a 600km difference and days apart.
One data source that WeatherWatch.co.nz relies on predicts another dry week for Auckland next week. “This is why our language is not rock solid just yet” says Mr Duncan. “While we’re pretty sure this low will track down towards us next week we still don’t have a firm indication on where it will go once it reaches our waters and how severe it will be”.
Mr Duncan says farmers he’s spoken to are hopeful the tropical depression will bring much needed rain to Northland and Waikato.
WeatherWatch.co.nz will provide twice daily updates over the coming days.