The approach of Cyclone Lusi

March 14, 2014

Cyclone Lusi has moved out of the tropics and is now approaching northern New Zealand.

RSMC Wellington has now taken over regional responsibility for monitoring Lusi, currently a Category 2 tropical cyclone lying about 800 kilometres north of Cape Reinga. Lusi’s speed of movement is about 35 kilometres per hour, and on its current track is expected to pass just to the northwest of North Cape around midday Saturday.

“Even though Lusi has shown some signs of weakening, it is still a significant tropical system,” Media and Communications Meteorologist Dan Corbett commented, “and one that still has the potential for severe weather.

MetService has already been monitoring this system for several days, and there are severe weather watches and warnings for a number of North and South Island places. “As this low passes by the far North, a period of heavy rain and easterly gales is likely from Northland to Gisborne,” Corbett went on to say. “The upper South Island is also likely to see substantial rainfall from late Saturday into Sunday.” Rainfall in Christchurch will be from an easterly direction, and amounts will be modest by warning standards.

MetService will continue to refer to Tropical Cyclone Lusi as ‘Cyclone Lusi’ in its land-based warnings, even though it has begun a change in structure that will eventually lead to the system no longer being defined as a tropical cyclone. “We will refer to this system as ‘Cyclone Lusi’ until it has moved east of the South Island, or weakened significantly. This will give better clarity for the media and wider public, including how we refer to the system in our Severe Weather Warnings and Watches etc,” said Ramon Oosterkamp, Manager Public Weather Services.

Late Sunday or early Monday, Lusi is then expected to slide across the South Island, before moving out into the open waters east of Canterbury. Large waves and storm surges may be an issue along eastern shores from Northland to the Bay of Plenty, reaching Wairarapa and Marlborough on Sunday.

The weather is expected to settle for most of us on Monday; however, a cold front is expected to bring rain to the West Coast by dark.

MetService will continue to update our blog daily as the storm approaches to highlight the risks to New Zealand: blog.metservice.com

In addition, keep up to date with the latest forecasts and the many watches and warnings at metservice.com or on mobile devices at m.metservice.com. You can also follow our updates on MetService TV, @metservice on Twitter and ‘MetService New Zealand’ on Facebook.

For further information please contact:
Daniel Corbett Media and Communications Meteorologist (04)4700 754


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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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