Weather: High risk of new tropical cyclone developing near New Zealand, thunderstorm watch issued for Gisborne

There is a high risk of a new tropical cyclone developing near New Zealand soon as the Gisborne region continues to battle heavy rainfall, MetService said.

The weather agency said the tropical low was located in the Coral Sea, west of New Caledonia at 7am on Friday morning.

It said the conditions are favourable for a tropical cyclone to develop. MetService also said the tropical low has a high risk of becoming a cyclone between late Friday and Saturday as it moves eastward over open waters.

The weather system is forecasted to weaken in the northern Tasman Sea later on Sunday and Monday. 

MetService said the system "may be named in the coming days."

"This new system is forecast to move southeastwards."

Based on current information, MetService said a large area of high pressure is keeping the low away from New Zealand.

MetService has also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Gisborne region until 7pm Friday.

"Conditions there are conducive for some of them to become severe, with localised downpours of 25 to 40 mm/hr," MetService said.

"Rainfall of this intensity can cause surface and/or flash flooding, especially about low-lying areas such as streams, rivers or narrow valleys, and may also lead to slips."

The weather agency said the risk is highest on Friday afternoon but could possibly extend into the evening.

It comes after Cyclone Hale swept through parts of the North Island last week.

Cyclone Hale caused widespread destruction in Tairāwhiti Gisborne as it brought flooding, slips and powercuts.

Tairāwhiti was plunged into a local state of emergency which remained in place until Friday as another sub-tropical low hit the region this week.   

The recent wild weather in the region has prompted locals to create a petition to demand urgent action from the Gisborne District Council.

They hope the council will review the rules around land use in the region, which haven't been updated since the 90s.