Image / Weatherwatch
The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Lusi are on track to hit
New Zealand this weekend, forecasters say, with the North
Island likely to bear the brunt of the storm.
A "stunning" week will be followed by a weekend of heavy rain
and severe gales as the weather system arrives to batter the
country on Friday or Saturday.
It's likely to pass over Auckland on Saturday night and into
Sunday morning, WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said.
While it would no longer be classified as a tropical cyclone
by the time it reached New Zealand, it would still "pack a
punch", he said.
"We expect it will move in around Saturday or Sunday and it
could bring very heavy rain and severe gales to northern New
Zealand, and across the weekend it will affect all of the
North Island at some point," Mr Duncan said.
However, it is not yet known which part of the country will
be worst hit by the tropical storm.
"A lot of the weather around this low will be just your
normal cloudy, windy sort of stuff, it won't be severe. But
the worst of the weather is the centre part where the worst
of the wind will be and some of the heaviest rain will be.
That's the area we're watching very closely and are yet to
work out specifically where it will go," Mr Duncan said.
MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett agreed, saying it was
looking like a "batten down the hatches" weekend, which could
get "quite nasty in some places".
"Certainly northern New Zealand, so Northland to Auckland to
the Bay of Plenty, through Saturday, it will certainly be
spells of heavy rain, strong winds, gales - maybe even severe
gales," he forecast.
"Then the actual centre of that low, that's still a little
bit difficult to determine exactly where, but it does look
like it's tracking towards northern New Zealand for late
Friday into Saturday."
Both Mr Duncan and Mr Corbett said the picture of where the
storm is likely to go will get clearer as the week goes on,
and were hopeful that by tomorrow they would have a better
idea of where the centre would strike.
Tropical Cyclone Lusi was currently a category one cyclone
sitting near Vanuatu, and was "slowly intensifying in the
very warm, bath-like waters" in the Pacific which fuels such
storms, said Mr Corbett.
It is likely to grow into a category three cyclone within 24
hours, he said, and track to the south and west of Fiji.
By the weekend it will reach New Zealand waters, where the
cooler temperatures will have the effect of "someone pulling
"It will be weakening as it comes towards us, but it will
have already become quite strong," Mr Corbett said.
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ