A cyclone which has developed to the east of northern Vanuatu has been upgraded to a category two storm.
Tropical Cyclone Hola was located just east of Ambrym a short time ago [5am Vanuatu time] and is moving westsouthwest over Ambrym and Malakula over the next 12 hours.
It is expected to strengthen throughout the day.
At its centre the cyclone will have winds of up to 95 kilometres an hour but increasing to 120 kilometres an hour by tomorrow morning.
WeatherWatch says Vanuatu will have heavy rain today, damaging winds, and coastal conditions will become rough, especially to the west of the nation in the days ahead as Hola deepens.\
American tracking shows the storm just missing New Zealand, while European data shows the cyclone directly hitting Northland.
"It remains one to watch for New Zealand but for the next few days it will be Vanuatu and New Caledonia most exposed to Cyclone Hola," says WeatherWatch.
Meanwhile, rain, strong winds and thunderstorms will hit the North Island from today.
MetService says a complex low pressure system over the North Island brings periods of rain to many areas of the Island and strong southeasterly winds over the lower parts of the North Island during Thursday and Friday.
"The low should then move southeast away from the island late Friday, followed by a ridge on Saturday," they said.