Cyclone Uesi hits category 2, could blast New Zealand with 'heavy rain'

A new tropical cyclone has formed north-west of New Zealand - and it's already hit category 2 status.

Tropical Cyclone Uesi was named by the Fiji MetService overnight after growing in the Coral Sea.

WeatherWatch warns it is expected to strengthen in the days ahead and may even reach 'severe category 3' status as it moves southwards, possibly moving directly over New Caledonia around Tuesday and Wednesday.

"The French island may be directly impacted by Uesi with damaging winds, flooding rains and dangerous seas," WeatherWatch says.

NIWA says it may track into the Tasman Sea later this week and head toward Australia.

As it nears eastern Australia it will help feed even more heavy rain and dangerous seas.

"It will then grow into an extra-tropical storm which could see it intensify - hence why eastern Australia and the South Island of New Zealand should be monitoring it," WeatherWatch warns.

"One week from now the remnants of Uesi will likely drop away into the Southern Ocean between Tasmania and Fiordland - but there is a chance it could pull closer to NZ and bring heavy rain to the West Coast in a week from now."