Weather: Northern New Zealand 'vulnerable' to brewing cyclone

Northern New Zealand is "vulnerable to a direct hit" from a fresh tropical cyclone brewing east of Australia, WeatherWatch warns.

According to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), the weather system in the Coral Sea has a "high" risk of turning into a cyclone on Friday.

"The storm will be in the perfect breeding ground with sea surface temperatures in the area well over 30C," WeatherWatch says. "The cyclone is likely to become a 'severe' category 3 and above storm."

Where will the cyclone hit?

Once the cyclone has developed, high pressure will control the storm's direction, although it's expected to head our way.

"Modelling has been in agreement since day one that this storm would track south-east, basically directly to New Zealand," WeatherWatch says.

But a high-pressure system developing in the Tasman Sea could move towards New Zealand around the same time and block us from the storm's fury. 

"Next week a high from Tasmania will be moving in from the south-west, at the same time the cyclone is moving in from the north-west," WeatherWatch says.

"It’s a fairly simple equation - if the high arrives first, the cyclone will likely remain north of NZ.

"If the high is slow arriving - or sinks a little further south - then northern NZ is vulnerable to a direct hit."

WeatherWatch predicts any impact will occur between March 17 and March 20 at this stage.

If the tropical cyclone did swipe across New Zealand, it would likely bring enough rain to end the drought that is hurting the country's agriculture sector.

But WeatherWatch also says it would also likely bring slips, flooding and severe wind.