MetService today announced the risk of a tropical cyclone developing near New Zealand in the coming days has been increased to high.
The tropical depression currently lies just to the south of Solomon Islands and is moving in a westerly direction as it intensifies.
MetService gave the latest update on tropical depression 14U in its daily cyclone bulletin this afternoon.
"The system is moving slowly westwards and is intensifying. The environment remains very favourable, hence the risk of this system developing into a tropical cyclone in the Coral Sea increases to HIGH from Wednesday."
The meteorological service also updated its long-range forecast.
"The system is expected to start moving southeast later in the week, tracking to the far south of New Caledonia, then possibly towards the upper North Island in the outlook period (Monday).
"However, there is considerable uncertainty in the future track at this early stage."
It comes after the upper North Island is still reeling from torrential downpours at the end of a record-breaking January.
"If this system does pass close to the North Island, it will be another significant weather event potentially affecting vulnerable areas which are still recovering from recent severe weather," MetService warned in a statement yesterday.
Meteorologist Jessie Owen said the expected cyclone's path and potential impacts will be clearer in the coming days.
"Impacts for New Zealand will be highly dependent on the path the cyclone could take, but may include strong winds, heavy rain, and large swells on eastern coasts if it passes close to the North Island," MetService said.