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Metservice Preparing for Coming Cyclone Season

Issued at 12:49pm 28-Nov-2005

Metservice Preparing for Coming Cyclone Season

MetService is preparing for the coming cyclone season, and meteorologist Steve Ready says that he will not be surprised if New Zealand is hit by a BIG cyclone at some stage this summer.

According to Mr. Ready, "Between now and the end of May, nine tropical cyclones are expected to form in the South Pacific. This cyclone season is shaping up to be one where the equatorial Pacific Ocean is neither having an El Nino nor a La Nina. Such neutral years in the past have given us notable cyclones such as GISELE (April 1968, the one that sunk the ferry 'WAHINE'), BOLA (March 1988), FERGUS (December 1996), and DRENA (January 1997)."

Sometimes weather conditions align in such a way that cyclones from the tropics can bring wind, rain and storm surge to New Zealand. On average this happens about once a year. Mr. Ready, who is based at the MetService headquarters in Wellington and has served as chair of the World Meteorological Organization Tropical Cyclone committee for the South Pacific for the past 15 years, warns that "this is the season we really have to be more aware than others."

This cyclone forecast is not affected by the cold outbreak that has recently hit some parts of the North Island hard. According to MetService Weather Ambassador Bob McDavitt, "this cold air is just a brief setback to the warming track. The southerly winds will be replaced by warm northerlies by the end of week, and just in time for the first month of summer."


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