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Cyclone Atu Dwarfs NZ's North Island

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Cyclone Atu Dwarfs NZ's North Island

The outer bands of Severe Tropical Cyclone Atu are spreading above the upper North Island this evening creating a hazy sky reports

The cyclone is as wide as New Zealand is long and tonight it dwarfs the North Island as it begins its three day trek past the country.

Atu is not going to hit New Zealand with all forecasters and models agreeing it will pass well to the east of the North Island.

Atu dwarfing the North Island this evening - but will pass well to the east of NZ / Google Earth

Information on the system is sketchy at this latitude, as it leaves the Fijian authorities and moves into MetService's area of responsibility. However unlike Australia and Fiji, New Zealand's government forecaster doesn't provide tracking or specific maps and updates on tropical systems outside of their marine forecasts and normal weather charts. instead turns to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii for the latest information.

The JTWC says winds this evening are expected to be averaging 150km/h and gusting to 185km/h.

As of 7pm NZT the cyclone was centred 800kms north east of Cape Reinga and 1000kms north of East Cape.

The JTWC says Atu will tonight start the process of becoming extra-tropical, which means it looks it's warm centre and starts to develop into a more "typical" low that we'd see around New Zealand. However it still remains a serious storm that will drive in big seas to the east coast of the North Island.

It's likely to bring showers to East Cape as well later on Thursday or Friday.

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