15 Jan 2011

Storms predicted for New Zealand

2:47 pm on 15 January 2011

Severe weather from two cyclones is expected to hit New Zealand from Tuesday.

Cyclone Vania is moving across the Pacific while Cyclone Zelia is in the northern Coral Sea above New Caledonia.

The remains of Cyclone Vania are expected to reach New Zealand on Tuesday, bringing stormy conditions, heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 100 km/h to northern and central North Island areas.

MetService says Cyclone Zelia is moving faster southeastward and its trajectory is less certain, but its remnants are expected to affect northern New Zealand on Wednesday with winds gusting up to 120 km/h.

MetService severe weather forecaster Andy Downs says both systems will have weakened by the time they arrive over New Zealand, but both, especially Cyclone Zelia, have the potential to be destructive.

Cyclone alerts for Vania have been lifted in New Caledonia, where gales, high seas and heavy rain closed airports, cut power and forced people to move to safe shelter.