Tropical Cyclone Hola has strengthened overnight, going from a Category-2 storm to a powerful Category-4, and latest track maps show it brushing the north-eastern coast of the North Island.
A GFS/NCEP/US National Weather Service visualisation of Cyclone Hola''s predicted location at 7am, Monday March 12.
Source: 1 NEWS
The storm is currently moving away from Vanuatu and towards New Caledonia, where it will likely hit the eastern islands of the country.
Wind speeds at the centre of Hola are currently sustained at 170km/h, Weatherwatch reports, and could intensify to 200km/h later today.
The latest prediction of Cyclone Hola's path in coming days, issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre at 3am, March 8 NZT.
Source: Joint Typhoon Warning Centre
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre issued its latest tracking map today at 3am NZT, with predictions of wind gust speeds by the time it reaches New Zealand up to 100km/h
The Fiji Meteorological Service released an updated track map this morning, predicting that the storm could further strengthen to Category-5 later today.
A Cyclone Hola tracking map released by the Fiji Meteorological Service at 8.38am, March 8, NZT.
Source: Fiji Meteorological Service
There are fears the Cyclone could eventually make its way down to New Zealand, where Cyclone Gita slammed into the Nelson Tasman and West Coast regions, causing considerable damage.
MetService's latest Tropical Cyclone activity bulletin, issued overnight, says Hola could possibly approach the North Island of New Zealand "later Sunday or early next week".
A Himawari-8 globe-projected graphic showing Cyclone Hola between Vanuatu and New Caledonia this morning at 8.30am NZT.
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency