ATU EXPECTED TO TRACK OVER OPEN SEA EAST OF NZ

February 22, 2011

Severe Tropical Cyclone Atu is being monitored by the Fiji Meteorological Service as it moves slowly southwards away from Vanuatu.  As of Tuesday morning, MetService expects the winds in the upper atmosphere to steer Atu off to the southeast late on Wednesday and during Thursday.  Responsibility for marine warnings on Atu will pass to MetService on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

“The strong winds and heavy rain associated with this system should remain well offshore to the east of the North Island,” commented MetService Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt.  “So while Atu poses a threat to vessels on the high seas within a few hundred kilometres of its centre, it is expected to be a non-event  as  far as the New Zealand landmass is concerned.”

However, McDavitt added that a long and possibly heavy northeast swell is expected on eastern coasts from Northland to Bay of Plenty on Thursday.

“This long ground swell should start picking up on Wednesday afternoon.  On Thursday, combined with offshore wind the waves are likely to be smooth and clean, with most surf breaks going off.  However, having come from a tropical cyclone these waves need to be treated with respect.  We’re also just past full moon, so the tides are strong.”

Keep up with MetService’s marine forecasts, including those for the inshore waters around the Bay of Islands, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty, at metservice.com or, for mobiles, at m.metservice.com.

For further information please contact:
Bob McDavitt       Weather Ambassador           (09)377 4831
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MetService issues Warnings, Watches and Outlooks for severe weather over New Zealand.
Warnings are about taking action:
* When severe weather is imminent or is occurring
* Issued only when required
* Recommendation: ACT
Watches are about being alert:
* When severe weather is possible, but not sufficiently imminent or certain for a Warning to be issued
* Issued only when required
* Recommendation: BE READY
Outlooks are about looking ahead:
* To provide advance information on possible future Watches and/or Warnings
* Issued routinely once or twice a day
* Recommendation: PLAN
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(C) Copyright Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd 2011

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