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Zelia: Storm may not follow predicted track

Severe category 3 tropical cyclone Zelia has passed well to the north east of Norfolk Island on a path that was not earlier predicted by the main international computer models – which picked it would pass south of the island.

Initial observations show the storm passed by incredibly quickly.

Zelia is tracking much further east which could have a new impact on northern New Zealand later on Tuesday predicts expects the centre of the storm to be near Cape Reinga within 12 hours (around 12 noon Tuesday, if not a little earlier).

MetService currently has no warnings in place for Auckland, Northland or Coromandel but does have a severe weather watch in place – indicating warnings are still a possibility.

However all government forecasters that are monitoring Zelia are still predicting the low will cross the west coast of the lower North Island but now believes there is an increased chance of the low making landfall much further north. says there is a chance the storm may even track down the eastern side of Northland and not the western side as earlier predicted.  While that may sound like a huge change in the forecast the shape and angle of Northland always makes for a challenge when forecasting which side of New Zealand a tropical low will come down on.

Northland is also incredibly narrow, meaning the storm doesn’t have to jog too far east to have a different affect on the upper North Island.

If Zelia was to make landfall in Northland, or pass to the east, it could mean a change in weather warnings for the country on Tuesday morning.

Tropical cyclones are notorious for going against models even in the Atlantic where huge resources have been put in to predicting future tracking. says the storm is moving very quickly (over 60km/h) and will review the situation and predicted track early on Tuesday morning – by then overnight oberservations will help firm up a more concrete track of cyclone Zelia.

Needless to say all New Zealanders in northern, central and western regions of both islands should be aware of the latest forecasts, warnings, watches and weather news.


– Next update will be before 7:30am Tuesday


WW Forecast Team on 18/01/2011 2:31am

For anyone who posted a comment in the past 30 minutes you will need to resend it due a technical glitch – apologies!

– WeatherWatch Admin

Peter on 17/01/2011 5:59pm

From the satelite pics this morning it looks like Zelia may have dissipated over night?

WW Forecast Team on 17/01/2011 6:17pm

When they leave the tropics they fall apart and then often rebuild themselves – but they lose their iconic shape.  This one is proving to be a small but nasty system – meaning it may not be as widespread as we initially thought but still poses a serious risk for many.

– WeatherWatch

westcoast on 17/01/2011 5:23pm

It is now moving SSE
and it did pass over Norfolk island (because the wind there went from E to W) and with a barometer over only 989, so it weakened quickly before arriving there
You can see the actual surface low now to the east of the “thrown off” upper level cloud on the satellite image to the east of the surfac low center now.
So it is now moving SSE as the models predicted, finally, and so will pass just to the west of Northland and make landfall somewhere north of New Plymouth I would say.
There will still be gales associated with it

Guest on 17/01/2011 12:36pm

I live in Wellington, so it’s freaking me out kinda.. The winds have started blowing.

Jude on 17/01/2011 11:20am

Is there any tracking website where we can see what it is doin??? Wet here in Whitianga, but not windy. Very weird though as we have lost power….lol

Guest on 17/01/2011 11:00am

Do u think new Plymouth will get hit?

Brendan Pratt on 17/01/2011 10:39am

Hi Guys, Thanks for the update! So Tauranga could be more in the firing line now?


WW Forecast Team on 17/01/2011 10:41am

It’s possible you might get more wind and rain – we’ll have to wait for the official MetService warnings tomorrow morning.

– WW

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