With tropical cyclone season fast approaching, Pacific meteorological agencies are warning of above average activity with up to 13 named tropical cyclones expected between now and April.
Every year, MetService and Niwa work with meteorological services from other Pacific nations to produce a tropical cyclone outlook, giving an idea of what can be expected from the season, which runs from November until April.
New Zealand normally experiences one ex-tropical cyclone a year, reaching as close as 550km off shore -- but the prospects for other regions of the Pacific are more severe.
"All Pacific Islands should remain vigilant in case conditions in the equatorial Pacific change during tropical cyclone season," the outlook said.
At least six Category 3 tropical cyclones are expected, with wind speeds of at least 118km/h.
It is also expected that four systems could reach Category 4, meaning wind speeds of 159km/h.
An average of 10 named tropical cyclones have occurred annually over the last 30 years.
Tropical cyclones have a significant impact across the southwest Pacific each year, with Vanuatu and New Caledonia experiencing the most activity of the region, averaging two to three named events a year.
With the elevated activity across the entire southwest Pacific region, the combined agencies issued a warning to all those in the affected areas.
"All communities should remain alert and well prepared for severe events."
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