MetService is warning a cyclone is likely to brew in the Pacific in the coming days, with parts of the country that are still recovering from recent extreme weather in for another thrashing, should it pass close by.
However, the national forecaster has lifted all remaining severe weather warnings, the first time the country has been in the clear for over a week.
It follows more than seven days of severe weather across the country, where rain pummelled the upper North Island and caused extreme flooding, killing three people in Auckland, and one in Waikato.
And the South Island has also been mired in a week of extreme weather, with the mainland experiencing sweltering heat, seeing temperatures of 34C in Christchurch.
MetService meteorologist Jessie Owen said the coming week promised cooler temperatures around the country and a reprieve from sticky and humid conditions in the north.
Auckland is in for more rain today, continuing into the week. Showers will fall about the west of the city this evening, with fine spells developing.
A mainly fine, 24C Tuesday is forecast as people return to work following a long Waitangi weekend hampered by dreary and cloudy clean-ups from last week’s deluges.
Owen said a cyclone was likely to develop in the Coral Sea, between New Caledonia and Australia in the Pacific, from a tropical low-pressure system in the next few days.
Hauraki Gulf Weather explained the “convective hot towers punching into the stratosphere” were likely to become a tropical cyclone on Wednesday.
The forecaster said it was “still early days and a lot can change” but called current tracking a “concerning trend for the upper North Island”.
The potential tropical cyclone was expected to “possibly [move] towards the far north of New Zealand” at the weekend, MetService said.
“If this system does pass close to the North Island, it will be another significant weather event potentially affecting vulnerable areas which are still recovering from recent severe weather.”
Windy.com predicts on its website that the storm will likely hit our shores at midnight next Monday, bringing strong gusts up to 50 knots.
Forecaster WeatherWatch said more slips, flooding and road closures were inevitable if this storm tracked directly over New Zealand.
“This likely storm has the potential to bring with it 300mm or more to NZ, so that precise tracking - whether it makes landfall or remains out at sea - is even more critical following recent flooding,” WeatherWatch head forecaster Philip Duncan said.
“It is certainly one to closely watch and many will be hoping it remains out at sea, which is a possibility.”
MetService said the storm could cause strong winds, heavy rain and large swells on the country’s eastern coasts, should it pass nearby.
“It is important to emphasise that the cyclone’s path is still uncertain as the system hasn’t yet developed.”
“We will have a much better idea about the path this system will take, and any related severe weather, in another couple of days once it has formed,” Owen said.
More immediately, he said a high-pressure system to the west of New Zealand should bring more settled weather in the next few days before a cold front brings showers and cooler temperatures on Wednesday.
“The front that moved up the country on Sunday has weakened and will clear the North Island tonight, taking with it the humid air which has been bringing heavy rain to northern areas and hot temperatures to the south. It should start to feel a bit cooler this week,” he said.
The finer weather could prove brief: “All eyes are now on the tropics,” MetService said.
‘Keep an eye out for each other’: Auckland takes stock of damage
Auckland Emergency Management (AEM) controller Adam Maggs said people should “keep an eye out for each other”. He urged people to check on their neighbours.
Auckland has seen 273 houses red-stickered since the devastating floods on Friday, January 27, and 1556 have been yellow-stickered, of the nearly 5000 homes assessed as at midday today.
Slip-ravaged Tāmaki Drive is expected to open with one lane within a day, while Ngapipi Rd in Ōrākei, Shore Rd in Remuera and Kemp Rd in Massey have reopened, AEM said.
Auckland Transport (AT) wanted holidaymakers to be “particularly alert” when driving as roads still had “significant damage”.
“We recommend people check the AT Mobile app or AT website for the latest information on the road network or public transport services before they travel.”
Meanwhile, Watercare has asked people across West Auckland to conserve water as one reservoir was struggling to keep up with demand.
“Customers in Titirangi, Konini, Ōrātia and parts of Glen Eden [should] reduce their water use over the next week as the water network remains vulnerable in the wake of last Friday’s storm.
“The Montana Reservoir is now supplying water to more customers than it normally would and is struggling to keep up with demand,” AEM said.
Maggs said communities and volunteers had been cleaning up over the weekend and warned of the health risks contaminated flood waste posed.
“We are aware there are still large amounts of waste to be collected. Our drivers and loaders are back today to continue with the clean-up work.
“We strongly advise everyone to keep tamariki clear of any waste piles as they may be contaminated and will pose a risk to your health. We also advise this for your pets too.”
Red Cross welfare teams have flown in from across the country to help check on hard-to-reach Aucklanders.
AEM said work continued reconnecting the city after slips and floods impacted roads and a bridge was washed away in Rodney.
AT and contractors aimed to have a new bridge on Mill Flat Rd, near Riverhead, fully open by Wednesday. AEM said it was trying to open the bridge to residents today.
“The hard mahi continued throughout the long weekend to restore the primary access route to Riverhead,” AEM said.