How and when could a tropical cyclone hit Aotearoa?

Tue, Feb 7

A tropical cyclone developing near the Solomon Islands has the potential to strike New Zealand, but we won’t know if Aotearoa will be hit for a few days yet, says 1News meteorologist Dan Corbett.

Currently, a tropical depression is forming south of the Solomon Islands in the Coral Sea. It is moving west as it turns into a cyclone - which could happen as early as tomorrow.

Corbett said the likelihood of the cyclone hitting depends on westerly winds that would steer it towards us.

"You need a mechanism to bring it down here and potentially affect us if it does," he said.

"Putting on the steering winds is what we call the westerlies; it's gonna sit up there with no push. It’s gonna develop with a big upper high to it's south, and this is what steers it."

He compared an upper-level tough (a line of low-pressure air) pushing the cyclone to a person being nudged on the street which would move it south.

He said if it’s pushed towards New Zealand, it could arrive late Monday or Tuesday next week.

But if it gets a nudge away from New Zealand, we would only feel the edges of it.

"We won't really know until later this week," he said.


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