Uncertainty still looms over whether Tropical Cyclone Oma will hit New Zealand - but dust off the brollies as the rain is coming anyway.

Will Tropical Cyclone Oma strike New Zealand or will it swoop past and play havoc on Australia instead?

MetService head of weather communications Lisa Murray said it was too early to be definitive about whether Tropical Cyclone Oma would hit.

"It's all about when Omar recurs and some models are saying it won't and it will go off to Australia and other models are saying it will and that it might come down over parts of New Zealand and other models have it up to the north and playing around in the tropics."


The most she could say with confidence at this early stage was that it would up in the north Tasman Sea.

TC Oma Key messages for New Zealand Monday 18th: Our tropical cyclone experts have been monitoring TC OMA from before it formed and will continue to do so. You can see their commentary, analysis charts and satellite maps on our website at http://bit.ly/TropicalCycloneActivity. While TC OMA is in the Tropics, Fiji Met Service are responsible for the official Bulletins and provide track maps http://www.met.gov.fj/index.php?page=trackmap but once TC OMA moves south of latitude 25S, MetService will be producing these official track maps and bulletins. At this stage there is still much uncertainty across the weather model outputs regarding where TC Oma will move so there is no definitive answer on its exact path at this point. But what we can be certain about is regardless of where TC Oma tracks, New Zealand we will still see some rain and wind this weekend as there is another low waiting in the wings approaching from the south Tasman sea, which could bring decent amounts rain and wind. As always, MetService expert meteorologists will issue Outlook, Watches and Warnings for severe weather and the public can expect to see these in the next few days once the models come to grips with the movement of the lows. (TC Oma can be seen just west of Vanuatu. The different colours shown in the image represent the different cloud top temperatures. This is analysed from the amount of infrared radiation given off by the clouds themselves.) ^MB

Posted by MetService New Zealand on Sunday, 17 February 2019

Murray was more certain the rain would arrive from Friday and would be a welcome relief for many people battling dry conditions, water restrictions and fires.

In the meantime most of the country would continue to experience warm settled weather.

Even if Tropical Cyclone Oma didn't strike, it did open the door for a low to come in from the Tasman Sea and move across the country.

"It's too early to say the direction of Oma but it's looking likely that we are going to have a wet and windy weekend."

MetService urged people to stay up to date with the forecast as it became clearer later in the week.

Weather Watch, in a statement, also said there was a 50/50 chance of Tropical Cyclone Oma heading to New Zealand due to the high pressure around the Tasman.

The forecaster said depending on what the pressure system did it could either mean Oma directly hit New Zealand, gently guided it north of the country or turned it around and pushed it back north.


Tropical Cyclone Oma was downgraded to from a category 3 to 2 on Sunday, but the strong gusts of wind have reportedly damaged trees and houses on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu.