Cyclone Zaka passing closer to Raoul Island this evening

Updated at 5:54 pm on 7 February 2011

Tropical Cyclone Zaka has intensified and is now expected to pass closer to Raoul Island, bringing stronger gusts of up to 140 kilometres an hour.

New Zealand's Metservice forecasts Zaka to bring heavy rain, thunderstorms and very rough seas as it passes betweeen 150 to 200 kilometres west of the island about 7 o'clock this evening, New Zealand time.

Zaka's winds could damage trees and insecure roofs and cause flooding in low lying areas.

Raoul is the largest of the Kermadec Group of Islands, about 1000 kilometres north east of New Zealand.

Zaka is expected to ease as it heads south, passing northeast of New Zealand's North Island on Tuesday.

So far the Pacific region has experienced six cyclones this season, and the region's weather forecasters say the southwest Pacific can expect at least six more before the end of April.

Next story in Pacific: Weather forecasters predict more cyclones this season in southwest Pacific