MetService says it is unsure of the exact path of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle as it approaches Aotearoa.
The low-pressure system was named as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology this afternoon.
The tropical disturbance in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland developed into a category one cyclone today.
Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle named in the Coral Sea & is expected to track southeast towards Aotearoa New Zealand lying just to the north of us on Sunday. There is uncertainty about the exact track that Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle takes from then. More https://t.co/KjoElHzbIN ^L pic.twitter.com/Fyk48qIk9V— MetService (@MetService) February 8, 2023
MetService said the cyclone was likely to become a category three over the next 24 hours and could approach Northland late on Sunday.
"Although by the time it draws close to the top of the North Island it will have lost its tropical characteristics, it is still expected to be an intense weather system," MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said.
"Likely impacts of this system include heavy rain, gale force winds and large waves leading to dangerous coastal conditions for the upper North Island into early next week."
A slight change in atmospheric conditions could influence its track and speed, which would affect its intensity and where it would hit, he said.
"This could affect some of the areas which have already seen significant impacts from recent weather events."
Across the Tasman Sea, BOM said it was expected to produce "dangerous coastal conditions" along the southern and central Queensland coast over coming days.
Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle has formed in the Coral Sea and will remain well offshore of the Queensland coast. Dangerous coastal conditions are expected along the southern and central Queensland coast over coming days. #CycloneGabrielle https://t.co/rVLE6inSiG pic.twitter.com/nMvVWEQ2lr— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) February 8, 2023
Norfolk Island in firing line
BOM's senior meteorologist Harry Clark said of all the areas of Australia, Norfolk Island was most likely to see some impacts from the cyclone.
He said even if the system did not directly impact or come within 50km of the island, there would still be an increase in wind and waves.
"Particularly Saturday and into Sunday is likely when we could see that tropical cyclone move towards that region," he said.
"We could see some very large waves in excess of 5 metres across much of the island, but also see wind gusts approaching almost category two strength if it was to cross or come very close to the island.
"We could see some heavy rainfall as well."
- RNZ / ABC