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At least three severe tropical cyclones are forecast for the Pacific in the next six months, and New Zealanders are being urged to be vigilant.
In total, up to 10 tropical cyclones are forecast within the southwest Pacific basin, NIWA and MetService assessments show.
Meteorologist Ben Noll said New Zealand and New Caledonia are forecast to feel the brunt of the cyclone season.
New Zealand and New Caledonia’s tropical cyclone risk is elevated in the coming season.
Near-normal activity is expected for Tokelau, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, while this is slightly reduced for Tonga, Wallis and Futuna and Samoa.
“At least three severe cyclones reaching category three or higher might occur anywhere across the region so communities should remain prepared,” he said.
Meteorologist Ben Noll says the forecast is to alert people to be prepared for the cyclone season.
On average, at least one ex-tropical cyclone passes within 550 kilometres of New Zealand each year but the upcoming season poses double that risk, Noll said.
“If an ex-tropical cyclone comes close to the country, there is a near-equal probability of it tracking to either the east or west of the North Island, and landfall of a degrading ex-tropical cyclone is possible.
“There is no threat of a cyclone immediately in the horizon, this is a heads up that it might occur, and usually on the late part of the season from February to April.”
The season’s outlook shows New Zealand is looking to experience two category three cyclones in the later part of the season.
Significant rainfall, extreme winds, hazardous marine conditions and coastal damage are all possible leading up to and during cyclones.
“All communities, regardless of changes in tropical cyclone risk, should still remain vigilant and be aware if the regional climate situation changes,” Noll said.
As with most years, tropical cyclone activity is expected to increase during the second half of the season, from February-April.
Early season tropical cyclone activity is expected to be largely reduced, except near Fiji, and a potential start to cyclone activity may also occur close to or after the New Year.
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
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