Cyclone Cook set to hammer Pacific, could bring further floods to NZ
A new tropical cyclone forming in the Pacific is set to hammer island nations, and could bring more rain and flooding to New Zealand later this week.
Cyclone Cook is tracking towards southern Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with forecasts of damaging winds and torrential rains.
The category two cyclone was expected to strengthen into a tropical cyclone as it headed toward New Caledonia on Monday and Tuesday.
Weather Watch warned it could continue southeast to hit New Zealand with rains "heavy enough to cause even further serious flooding", adding to Bay of Plenty's woes after record flooding.
About 1600 residents of the flood-stricken town of Edgecumbe remain evacuated after the Rangitaiki River burst through stopbanks and gushed into houses and properties on Thursday.
Heavy rain was possible on Thursday and Friday, heading into Easter weekend, although Weather Watch added that the cyclone could "slip closely past" New Zealand without issues.
It said unlike Cyclone Debbie - which brought damaging flooding to Australia, before its remnants delivered floods to Whanganui and Edgecumbe - Cook "might be smaller and faster moving".
MetService expected the cyclone to weaken as it accelerated south to southeast on Wednesday.
However, Bay of Plenty and other areas are set for rain later in the week, as a low from the Tasman Sea and a front moving across the west of the country combined.
MetService says there's a chance rain could reach warning levels in Taranaki, Nelson, Marlborough and north Canterbury on Wednesday and Thursday, and in Northland, Auckland and Bay of Plenty on Thursday.