Tropical Cyclone Wilma will be far more serious than Zelia or Vania but much faster moving reports WeatherWatch.co.nz, as the storm closes in on New Zealand.
High cloud has started to thicken over northern New Zealand ahead of Wilma, which is currently centred 600kms north of Cape Reinga.
According to the latest data provided by MetService the central air pressure is 975hPa. This time yesterday it was 930hPa. Sustained winds near the centre are now at at 110km/h making it now a powerful Category 2 cyclone, and by this evening it will weaken a little further with winds averaging 100km/h and gusting to about 150km/h. The cyclone is likely to be a weak category 2 or strong category 1 cyclone when it passes Cape Reinga around midnight tonight.
Wilma as of 8 o’clock this morning / Google Earth
WeatherWatch.co.nz’s head weather analyst Philip Duncan says while this is the most powerful tropical storm to enter the upper North Island in 14 years it will be moving incredibly quickly. “We’re only talking about a few hours of severe winds for most regions with the centre of the low passing the Bay of Islands in the early hours of Saturday morning, then Coromandel Peninsula around dawn, Bay of Plenty mid morning and Gisborne by Saturday afternoon”.
“It will really only be a 12 to 18 hour event for most”.
Mr Duncan says the fast moving nature of the system should minimise damage overall however it may increase the winds on the south east corner of the low.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says regions most exposed to the wind will be Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Eastern Waikato, Eastern Bay of Plenty and East Cape.
“By Saturday afternoon the gales will ease in Northland and by night time or early Sunday the effects of Wilma will be gone”.
However Wilma is partially being caught up in another much weaker system over the South Island, which will help create fairly strong south to south west winds for many North Islanders tomorrow.
WeatherWatch.co.nz says the area of damaging gales currently stretches about 200kms from the centre of the low and that area is slowly reducing. “It means for those regions nearest to the centre of the low, such as Northland’s northeastern corner, the northeastern tip of Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island and East Cape, winds will be damaging for a while, but 100kms or so further inland they will just be a bit gusty”.
Meanwhile Wilma has already started to churn up our seas on the eastern coastline and things will only get worse today and tomorrow. “This holiday weekend in the upper North Island is often celebrated out on the water and at our beaches and we are advising people to stay out of the sea until at least Sunday and even then to be aware that dangerous rips and a powerful surf will still be operating”.
Image : Purple indicates swells that are 8 metres and higher. This is the predicted set up for 7am Saturday / WeatherMap.co.nz
on 28/01/2011 7:54am
Planning to head towards whangarei from auckland on sunday early morning is it advisable?
on 28/01/2011 3:24am
Are there any updates on Wilma? Are its movements as expected thus far?
Thanks so much for your service – the most comprehensive info.
on 28/01/2011 3:41am
Hi Maria – thanks for the feedback!
We’ve just placed an update on the homepage about Wilma. Our next update wont be until around 6pm.
on 28/01/2011 1:10am
Just checked the boat on the mooring Enlish Bay Opua……steady but not heavy rain,no wind
on 28/01/2011 12:30am
Thank you for keeping us up to date with the charge in weather u people do a great job cant believe hw yesterday was so nice and today raining boy things things move fast I hopoe it keeps moving fast and we dont get any flooding or power cuts here in kerikeri do you think we may get it BAD really i think the local radio satations should warn us more u guys do a good job buut there are people that dont have the internet
on 27/01/2011 11:51pm
Heavy rain Houhora, Far North from 11.30am.