MetService monitoring potential tropical low, says chance it could develop into cyclone

MetService is monitoring a potential tropical low which starting to build north of Samoa with a chance it could develop into a tropical cyclone.

It comes just over a week after Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread devastation in the North Island. 

According to MetService's Tropical Cyclone Bulletin there is a low risk of tropical cyclone development to the north of Fiji from Sunday, then moving west towards Vanuatu on Monday. 

A low risk puts the likelihood of cyclone formation between five to 20 percent.

MetService's broadcast meteorologist Angus Hines told Newshub a the risk of development increases to moderate (20 to 50 percent chance) through the middle of next week, by which time it may sit between Fiji and Vanuatu, if this continues with its slow westward movement.

"If a Tropical Cyclone does form, it is possible that it could follow a southeastward track and have and influence on our weather very late next week, or perhaps even the following week," Hines said.

"It's important to note this is just one of the possible outcomes. There are many other things that could happen, including the chance the storm dissipates while still in the tropics and doesn’t impact our weather at all."

New Zealand is currently at the peak of its cyclone season. On average, about 10 tropical cyclones form in the South Pacific tropics between November and April each year.

Hines said it's common to see tropical cyclones develop in the south-west Pacific which don't impact New Zealand weather. However, he said on average about one of those tropical cyclones will affect New Zealand as an ex-tropical cyclone.

Last week, Cyclone Gabrielle, which originated as a small low north of Fiji in early February, caused widespread destruction across the North Island.

But just because New Zealand has already experienced its cyclone for the year doesn't mean another one can come to our shores.

"We've had our one this year but that doesn't rule out another, unfortunately," Hines said.