Cyclone Hola strengthens to powerful Category-4 storm, could bring 100km winds to North Island Sunday or next week

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.

The storm is currently moving away from Vanuatu and towards New Caledonia, where it will likely hit the eastern islands of the country.

The TVNZ weatherman tracks the cyclone currently well north of the country in the Pacific Ocean. Source: 1 NEWS

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The latest prediction of Cyclone Hola's path in coming days, issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre at 3am, March 8 NZT.
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

Wind speeds at the centre of Hola are currently sustained at 170km/h, Weatherwatch reports, and could intensify to 200km/h later today.

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

A Cyclone Hola tracking map released by the Fiji Meteorological Service at 8.38am, March 8, NZT.
A Cyclone Hola tracking map released by the Fiji Meteorological Service at 8.38am, March 8, NZT. Source: Fiji Meteorological Service

The Fiji Meteorological Service released an updated track map this morning, predicting that the storm could further strengthen to Category-5 later today.

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.

A Himawari-8 globe-projected graphic showing Cyclone Hola between Vanuatu and New Caledonia this morning at 8.30am NZT.
A Himawari-8 globe-projected graphic showing Cyclone Hola between Vanuatu and New Caledonia this morning at 8.30am NZT. Source: Japan Meteorological Agency

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 GFS/NCEP/US National Weather Service visualisation of Cyclone Hola''s predicted location at 7am, Monday March 12.
A GFS/NCEP/US National Weather Service visualisation of Cyclone Hola''s predicted location at 7am, Monday March 12. Source: 1 NEWS

Cyclone Hola's brought strong winds and rough seas to the island nation, and gusts could reach 160km/h.