Cyclone could threaten NZ

A new cyclone forming in the Coral Sea in the Pacific could track towards New Zealand, bringing the same conditions with it as the recent Cyclone Evan, forecasters say.

The cyclone, which has yet to be formally named, was discovered by the Fijian meteorological service.

WeatherWatch.co.nz weather analyst Richard Green said it was expected to hit New Caledonia by Monday and then could take one of two paths.

"It could tract pretty quickly to the north of New Zealand and that will be due around the fifth or sixth of January.''

But he said it looked like it would break up like Cyclone Evan did as it tore a path through the Pacific two weeks ago.

"It will bring a lot of humidity and low cloud.''

He said it was very difficult to know exactly which path it would move along. The weather pattern would become much clearer in the next few days.

Once the storm officially becomes a cyclone, it would be named Freda by either Australian or Fijian meteorological services.

Earlier, WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said it was still "50/50'' whether the cyclone would form into the size of Evan and cause the same levels of destruction.

He said it had formed around 400km north east of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

"It's a very, very long way out still for us, but there are increasing signs that this second cyclone is certainly going to put the north of New Zealand again at some sort of threat risk at the start of January.

"It's formed in a perfect place for cyclones - in the Coral Sea, which is a breeding ground for them - it's a very, very warm body of water off the Queensland coast towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomons.''

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