Some of Northland's east coast beaches may be closed to swimming this weekend as Cyclone Cody threatens to bring swells of up to eight metres.
The MetService said Cyclone Cody is expected to impact the northeast of the North Island on Monday and early Tuesday. However, it could bring big swells this weekend, with Sunday particularly expected to have seas of up to eight metres.
Gale and storm force winds about Cyclone Cody, both offshore and as it approaches the northeast of the North Island, will generate large easterly swells, significant sea surges/rips and coastal inundation about exposed eastern coastlines.
There is high confidence of large easterly swells affecting eastern coastlines of the North Island with the potential for hazardous waves and rip currents from Saturday onwards.
Northern lifeguards warn beachgoers to expect east coast beach closures this weekend.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) is urging the beach-going public to take much greater care on northeastern beaches and prepare for closures as category 1 Tropical Cyclone Cody nears.
The cyclone is expected to reach New Zealand shores on Sunday, with advance swells surging from as early as this afternoon.
Northland's patrolled surf beaches are at Ocean Beach, Whangārei Heads, Waipū Cove, Ruakākā, and Mangawhai Heads on the east coast and Ahipara and Baylys Beach on the west coast.
Forecasters are yet to confirm where the cyclone will make landfall, and SLSNR lifesaving operations manager James Lea is warning beachgoers and holiday-makers to remain vigilant as large waves and strong rip currents create dangerous swimming conditions.
"With forecasted strong winds and a lot of energy pushing into eastern beaches this weekend, it will be extremely important to maintain your safety and safety of others this weekend. Strong surf and large waves will create strong currents," Lea said.
"There will be a lot of water moving which would easily knock you off your feet. Keep a close eye on young children – be able to reach them quickly, see them at all times and stay well away from the water.
"We also ask that storm-spectators and rock-fishers take extra care if spending any time on the rocks this weekend. Large swells can easily knock you off and into the dangerous water.
"Some beaches may become dangerous enough by Sunday and Monday that closures may be necessary, so before you head out make sure to monitor the Safeswim site for updates and only choose patrolled beaches for swimming or other water activities including rock-fishing. Safeswim will give the best times for swimming, the conditions and any hazards, as well the water quality and any potential closures."
Lea said SLSNR clubs will be closely monitoring the cyclone and water conditions through the weekend and into next week.
"If our lifeguards do not put up red and yellow flags and instead display 'No Swimming' signs and red flags, please respect that the water is too dangerous for recreational activities," he said.
"With talk of large swells already speculated in the media, we urge surfers in particular to not overestimate their abilities and underestimate the environment as the cyclone progresses through next week.
"We have already experienced an alarming number of fatalities at New Zealand beaches and inland waterways this summer, so we implore Kiwis to take great care this weekend in the wild weather and be sure to return home safe."
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging people to check the weather forecast before travelling this weekend due to Cyclone Cody.
Waka Kotahi national journey manager Helen Harris is advising motorists across Northland and elsewhere to be prepared for large swells on low-lying coastal roads, heavy rain and severe gales.