Cyclone Tino upgraded to 'severe' Category 3

As Cyclone Tino is set to hit Tonga today, the tropical cyclone has been upgraded to a Category 3. 

According to Weather Watch, Tonga is having to brace for a 'direct or near hit' from the centre of the storm as it reaches the island nation tonight. 

Coastal flooding, torrential rain and strong winds capable of destroying weak buildings are to be expected as well as extremely dangerous seas. 

Heavy rain and high winds from Tropical Cyclone Tino hit the island of Nukulaelae late on Thursday night. Credit: Tusi Tapuaiga. Source: Supplied

Weather Watch says 'all' people in Tonga should be prepared for potential damage overnight.

The tropical cyclone will then make it's way towards New Zealand as an ex-tropical cyclone by Monday. 

Eastern beaches across the North Island are also expected to become more dangerous because of Cyclone Tino, especially at the beginning of the week 

Swells over four metres could form along the eastern coast. 

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Weather Watch says "it is important to highlight the increased risk at some of the beaches as the weather above may be sunny and pleasant." 

Weather onshore is likely to remain hot and sunny, masking the potential dangers along the shore.