12 Jan 2016

Cyclone Ula on track for downgrade

5:19 pm on 12 January 2016

Tropical Cyclone Ula continues to weaken and New Zealand forecasters expect to downgrade the storm to an extra-tropical depression during the next 24 hours.

Cape Reinga and Kerikeri received the first of the rain and wind.

Cape Reinga Photo: RNZ

Ula reached Category Four level as it veered towards Vanuatu at the weekend, raising fears for vulnerable islands in Tafea Province still recovering from last year's Cyclone Pam.

It is now a Category Two cyclone and is easing as it moves in a south easterly direction over open water.

MetService meteorologist Peter Little said the storm was passing almost 1000km north of Cape Reinga.

"At this stage it looks unlikely that we'll see any major impact from the cyclone as it does eventually transition into an ex-tropical system and then may well get caught up in a westerly flow later in the week," he said.

"But we're certainly monitoring the situation."

The storm was expected to be downgraded tonight or early tomorrow.

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