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Winston now Category 4 – Where does it go next?

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston dropped a category overnight, as expected.  It is now a Category 4 Tropical Cyclone with sustained winds of 175km/h and gusts to 230km/h.

The central air pressure has risen considerably, from 915hPa on Saturday morning to 945hPa on Monday morning.

Winston’s westerly movement is slowing now too – down from 25km/h over the weekend to 13km/h this morning.  Today Winston will begin to curve south west then south towards the New Zealand direction.

Cyclone Winston is generating peak wave heights of 13 metres (42 feet) according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center out of Hawaii.

As for Winston’s future – the cyclone is tracking towards northern New Zealand once again. In fact, the same belt of blocking high pressure remains around our part of the world which means we’re back to where we were 10 days ago, with Cyclone Winston tracking south towards us and the models conflicted over where it will precisely track.

Today’s thinking is that Winston may end up in the Tasman Sea by the end of this week, and then cross the North Island either this weekend or early next week.  The models have not been consistent with GFS modelling out of America pulling the storm more towards Australia, then eventually back to New Zealand via the Tasman Sea.

ECMWF modelling out of Europe shows Winston also tracking into the Tasman Sea but moving over the upper North Island in a weakened state.

Our confidence of Winston reaching New Zealand remains moderate – but it is expected to weaken significantly before reaching New Zealand.  In saying that, it may still bring severe weather.

We are more confident of dangerous beach conditions than severe weather from Winston at this very early stage – and as the week goes on we’ll have more confidence about whether or not the remants of Winston will actuall reach New Zealand…or perhaps spend another week north of the country still trying to make up it’s mind on if it will swing right, swing left or simply make up its mind and head south. 



Ian guthrie on 22/02/2016 5:47pm

Hi we are heading up to Paihia this weekend 26 th feb…what do you  think the weather will have in store for us

many thanks

WW Forecast Team on 22/02/2016 7:59pm

Hi there, at this stage we expect humid NE winds and some rain or showers about.  Winston may not impact northern NZ until next week directly – but please check back for our daily updates in case that changes and it arrives earlier.



Guest on 21/02/2016 11:18pm

Hi there, I’m interested in the modelling that has Winston turning south (east/west) sometime soon… has it actually started a southward track or is there a possibility it could continue west and reach Vanuatu?  (I was in Pam and have continuing concerns about many ni van friends on the island of Tanna). Cheers, Kylie

WW Forecast Team on 22/02/2016 1:09am

Hi Kylie,  there’s always a chance with the weather, however all of the modelling agrees it will turn south tomorrow. The air pressure is lining up to allow the cyclone to naturally pull to the pole (south). To make you feel a bit better yesterday Winston was heading West at 25km/h, now it is heading a little more WSW and is slowing down. It was 13km/h this morning now it’s probably single digits.  This is the slow down before it turns south.  We’re having updates daily at and our next one will be on Tuesday morning before 10am NZT.



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