Cyclone may pass over Wellington

Last updated 14:31 13/03/2014
Cyclone Lusi
METSERVICE
WAITING ON THE RAIN: A UK Met Office model shows Tropical Cyclone Lusi is likely to pass by Wellington and the lower North Island on Sunday.

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Wellington and central New Zealand now look likely to be in the path of Tropical Cyclone Lusi.

While models differ, a British Met Office model - one of the models used by MetService in New Zealand - shows the centre of Lusi over the northern tip of the North Island on early Saturday, before travelling down the west coast of the North Island.

It was expected to pass by Wellington from Sunday afternoon till Monday.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said it would be ''blowing and going for a while'' in Wellington on Sunday, when there should also be heavy rain.

Cook Strait could see winds up to severe gale, with gusts reaching 100kmh.

MetService may issue warnings for rain and wind in the capital or the whole centre of New Zealand, Mr Corbett said.

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office group controller Bruce Pepperell said the region would likely dodge the worst of the storm and although he did not want to ''over-egg a situation that may not arise'' advised people to remain watchful, especially when travelling and to make back up plans in case of power outages.

''Residents should be vigilant and take basic emergency precautions - use an emergency kit, ensure drains and gutters are running freely and secure any outdoor furniture and fittings.''

Emergency management staff are monitoring the situation and will advise if further precautions are warranted.

Lusi was right now a category three tropical cyclone, but as it headed towards the colder waters around New Zealand it would go through an ''extra-tropical transition'' and weaken.

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said computer models could still not agree whether the centre of Lusi would travel through the North Island directly over land, or off the west coast.

''This might sound like we're splitting hairs but the difference between the centre of this low tracking 100km further west or east can have profound differences to the severe weather over land in New Zealand.''

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- The Dominion Post

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