A tropical cyclone forming in the Solomon Sea has its sights set on northern New Zealand next week, just as holidaymakers begin to move around the country for Christmas.
It comes within days of the Auckland border lifting, allowing residents of the country's biggest city to move freely around New Zealand for the first time in four months.
MetService tropical cyclone forecaster Micky Malibuk said a tropical low forming in the Solomon Sea was likely to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next week, approaching New Caledonia on Monday.
"Beyond that the system is likely to continue moving in the southeast direction towards upper New Zealand in the middle of next week, around Wednesday or Thursday."
Malibuk said it would first hit the northwest corner of the country but was likely to sweep down to affect the whole North Island.
"There is the threat of bringing some significant weather to most of the North island - potentially some heavy rain, gale strong-force winds as well as heavy swells in the northeast direction.
"It is still about a week away and things can change, and the track can change … so there is still the chance that it might not be much, or nothing at all.
"I think for the time being we can call it potentially a tropical cyclone approaching New Zealand in the next week.
"At the time where things are opening up for Auckland, people are going off on holiday, it's not really good timing for holidaymakers and people going away."
Auckland's borders are due to lift on Wednesday, December 15, with residents free to move around the country for the first time since August.
Weather Watch has also said "reliable modelling" shows the tropical low has "cyclone potential", and puts New Zealand in the risk zone next week.
Malibuk advised members of the public to keep an eye on their website – particularly the Tropical Cyclone page – which issued forecasts five or six days in advance.
"Definitely if you are planning a trip, keep an eye on our website next week … you don't want to be tramping in some of those areas, or camping, because there's the potential for there to be quite a lot of rain and it could be quite dangerous as well.
With the most active part of the tropical cyclone season usually occurring from January to March, Malibuk said we can expect more weather events in the coming months.
The weather conditions associated with La Nina also meant tropical cyclones were more likely to form in this part of the world.