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What will Vania and Zelia do to NZ?

Two tropical systems have their sights set on New Zealand this coming week and WeatherWatch.co.nz continues to monitor their progress and the latest computer modelling.

What we know now:
Vania was downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone Saturday.  The system doesn’t look dramatic (or even that clear) on the satellite map but it has tapped into some very moist air.  Often it’s what can potentially happen with these systems that drives the numerous weather updates, as opposed to us saying stormy weather is definitely coming.

While Vania was being downgraded Zelia was doing the opposite – bumping up three categories in just 36 hours the storm is now classed as “severe tropical cyclone”.  Using the American standard for measuring hurricanes this would now be a “strong Category 1 ” tropical storm.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Zelia continues to strengthen this morning and for a time she may even hit category 4 status out over the very warm waters of the Coral Sea, predicts WeatherWatch.co.nz.  The cyclone currently has winds averaging 150km/h (up from 120km/h earlier today) and gusts are now up to 205km/h.

The tracking of both these systems takes them in to the central and upper Tasman Sea and merging on Tuesday.

What we don’t know:
We still don’t know just how rough this system will be for New Zealand however WeatherWatch.co.nz doesn’t believe it has the same aggressive hallmarks as other cyclones (think Drena, Fergus, Bola).

There is still potential for damaging winds and flooding in some regions though.

The models:
The models are picking the two systems merging during Tuesday and crossing New Zealand on Wednesday.  While some isolated areas may receive damaging winds the overall set up does seem to suggest rain will be more of a feature.

Worst hit:
One positive about the two systems merging is that it appears it will spread the energy over a greater area.  That lessens the severity of the wind in many instances.

We believe the Nelson region could be in the firing line for some of the heaviest rain however all northern, central and western regions remain at risk (of both islands).

Still developing:
Severe Tropical Cyclone Zelia still needs to lose her tropical cyclone status and start to fall apart before she reaches us, so there are still a lot of physical changes expected in the coming days.

Your plans:
WeatherWatch.co.nz is not advising people to change their holiday plans, we simply ask that you keep up to date with the latest weather news and forecasts and have a back up plan should you need to move from your location.

We also suggest now is a good time to check on your emergency survival kit (or get one).  Go to www.getthru.govt.nz for more information.

Comments

westcoast on 15/01/2011 11:54pm

I dont think merge is the right idea intitialy
I think Zelia is going to be “sling shotted” around Vania, ie they will rotate around each other as a dumble shaped system….
this will make Zelia travel fast (already is travelling fast), onto NZ, which means by the time it gets here it will not have had time to weaken that much
but it might also rotate around Vania just to the west of northland and back into the Tasman sea to be then absorbed by Vania, then the whole system will move across central NZ
Going to be interesting to see how it all pans out!

WW Forecast Team on 16/01/2011 12:39am

"Joining forces" might be a better term.  Agree – certainly will be an interesting one to watch!

– WeatherWatch weekends

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