New cyclone may be on horizon for NZ

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 5 March 2018, 8:17AM
Ex tropical Cyclone Gita (Photo \ NZME)
Ex tropical Cyclone Gita (Photo \ NZME)

A spell of fine weather kicking off the first week of autumn for many Kiwis could be intercepted by a tropical cyclone.

The forecast for Monday is warm and overcast for many regions, with a smattering of rain kicking off what is expected to be another wet few months.

Spots like Greymouth, Queenstown and Invercargill will see occasional showers and temperatures hovering around 20C.

Further up the country, Auckland and Tauranga are forecast to have a high of around 28C.

Showery periods are expected in Whangarei and down the east coast of the North Island, in Tauranga and Napier.

In its March to May seasonal outlook, Niwa said temperatures around the country were forecast to be above average.

The downside was that rainfall is forecast to be above normal in the North Island and in the north of the South Island.

The west and east of the South Island are forecast to receive normal levels of rainfall.

According to forecaster Weather Watch, a tropical depression forming near Fiji could become a tropical cyclone later in the week.

The system could then track near, or into, the New Zealand area.

Current Southern Hemisphere outlook showing a tropical depression. Photo / Weather Watch

Current Southern Hemisphere outlook showing a tropical depression. Photo / Weather Watch

Head forecaster Philip Duncan said the path of this next potential storm was not clear.

"The tracking with both Gita and Fehi was changeable but the various models did have a common theme or pattern playing out," he said.

"With this next storm, which would be called Hola if it does become a cyclone, the modelling isn't so sure about how big it will get or whether it will directly impact New Zealand"

Potential for the depression to transform into a cyclone would remain low over the next day or two, however Weather Watch outlooks suggested a cyclone could suddenly form closer to the weekend.

Sea surface temperatures were ideal for a storm to grow, said Weather Watch.

It was only weeks since Cyclone Gita wreaked havoc in the Cook Islands, before U-turning back towards New Zealand.

Christchurch, Buller District, Grey District, Selwyn, Westland, Tasman and Taranaki declared a state of emergency a little more than a week ago when the powerful storm arrived.

More than 100 tourists were trapped overnight in Whataroa, south of Greymouth, and thousands of people lost power around the country.

The heaviest rain fell in Canterbury, where over 300mm was recorded at a station in the Kaikoura ranges, and 200mm at Carrington Hut in Arthurs Pass National Park.

Many other areas recorded more than 150mm, and even coastal parts had a lot of rain, including 64mm in Christchurch, 94mm in Ashburton, and more than 100mm in Timaru.

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