Kiwis urged to be vigilant as Pacific cyclone season approaches

With cyclone season beginning in the south west Pacific next month New Zealanders are being urged to be vigilant.

Cylone Pola over the Pacific in February 2019. Source: Fijimetservice

NIWA and MetService predict nine to 12 tropical cyclones could occur between November 2019 and April 2020 in the sout west Pacific.

At least one ex-tropical cyclone passes within 550km of New Zealand each year which can cause significant wind, waves and rainfall, NIWA say in a statement.

Tropical cyclones are categorised in strength from one to five - five being the highest.

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In the coming season four cyclones are expected to reach category three strength, with wind speeds of at least 118km/h.

Category five strength cyclones with wind gusts exceeding 199km/h have occurred in previous years with similar conditions expected this season.

“All communities should remain alert and well prepared for severe events,” NIWA say.

Vanuatu and New Caledonia have the highest number of tropical cyclones with about two or three a year.