Freda may copy Evan's form

The Fijian coast took a battering from Tropical Cyclone Evan as the storm moved to Fiji after hitting Samoa in mid-December.

A new cyclone forming in the Coral Sea in the Pacific could track towards New Zealand, bringing the same conditions as Cyclone Evan, forecasters say.

The system is yet to be formally named as it's still taking shape, but assuming it does it will become Cyclone Freda. It was discovered by the Fijian meteorological service.

WeatherWatch.co.nz weather analyst Richard Green said it was expected to hit New Caledonia by Monday and then could take one of two paths.

"It could track pretty quickly to the north of New Zealand and that will be due around the fifth or sixth of January."

But he said it looked like it would break up like Cyclone Evan did as it tore a path through the Pacific two weeks ago.

"It will bring a lot of humidity and low cloud."

He said it was very difficult to know exactly which path it would move along.

The weather pattern would become much clearer in the next few days.

Once the storm officially becomes a cyclone, it would be named Freda by either Australian or Fijian meteorological services.

Earlier, WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said it was still "50/50" whether the cyclone would form into the size of Evan and cause the same levels of destruction.

He said it had formed around 400km northeast of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

"It's a very, very long way out still for us, but there are increasing signs this second cyclone is certainly going to put the north of New Zealand again at some sort of threat risk at the start of January.

"It's formed in a perfect place for cyclones - in the Coral Sea, which is a breeding ground for them - it's a very, very warm body of water off the Queensland coast towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomons.

"The interesting thing is not all the computer models are picking it, the same computer model that picked Evan isn't picking this one to be a big one."

Mr Duncan said he was waiting for the severity of the cyclone to be predicted by different sources before issuing any weather warnings.

"The fact that we're getting another tropical low so quickly after another one and it's forming in a different part of the tropics does show that we are in quite an unsettled pattern at the moment, and this could last a couple more weeks," he said.

- APNZ

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