New Zealand: Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola Lashes North Island

After battering Vanuatu last week, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Lola are now causing havoc for New Zealand’s North Island and creating dangerous conditions for yachts heading there to escape the South Pacific Cyclone Season.

Published 1 month ago

Already, a dramatic rescue has taken place off North Cape (on the tip of the North Island) with images from the incident showing particularly wild weather and stormy seas.

New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre reported that an emergency beacon was set off on Sunday October 29, from the Juan Sabulan after its motor failed and rigging and sails were damaged,

An Air Force C-130 Hercules and two rescue helicopters, one from Whangārei and the other from Auckland were sent to the stricken yacht which was 28 nautical miles off the cost of North Cape. The sole sailor on board, a French national was winched off the yacht and taken to Kerikeri.

Media reports say the sea conditions were so rough that Northland Rescue Helicopter co-pilot Bernie McQueen kept watch on the swells, warning pilot Steve Couchman to lift the aircraft away from dangerous surges of water as they hovered near the stricken yacht.

Image of the stricken yacht off New Zealand’s North Cape from Northland Emergency Services Trust.

Meterologists say ex TC Lola is a weather system that has now become a large, deep, complex low-pressure system moving slowly down the country, bringing moisture and tropical air from the subtropics.  Wind gusts of 142km/h were recorded in Cape Rēinga, similar to the gusts that Cyclone Gabrielle brought earlier this year.

New Zealand based weather services Passage Guardian and Metbob have been keeping a weather eye on Down Under Rally and Island Cruising NZ Rally participants who are returning to Australia and New Zealand.

They report that some yachts still at sea are riding out the storm while others that made it back to New Zealand before the storm hit are holed up in ports including Opua and Whangarei.

Ex Tropical Cyclone Lola over NZ on October 29, from

Wild World Weather

In the last two weeks:

  • Hurricane Tammy soaked parts of the north-east Caribbean.
  • Tropical Cyclone Lola strengthened to a Category 5 over Vanuatu and is now affecting New Zealand.
  • Hurricane Otis rapidly intensified into a Category 5 Hurricane and devastated Acapulco.
  • Typhoon Harmoon caused a quarter of million people to evacuate into shelters in southern Bangladesh.
  • Hurricane Norma hit California Baja Sur as a Category 1 storm
  • Extremely Severe Cyclone Storm Tej affected parts of the coast of Yemen including Socotra.


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  1. November 2, 2023 at 8:09 AM

    We got in to Opua from Noumea just 2 days before this happened.
    Out of season revolving storm meets serious cold front approaching from the Tasman Sea….I feel for them…BUT when we left Noumea we could see that situation arising and went as fast as we could, starting with the only window of opportunity>
    Look at it now…doesn;’t look good for a getaway for at least another 10 days.

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