Tropical Cyclone Gita heads towards New Zealand

Satellite imagery of Cyclone Gita

Several fronts moving up the country were causing heavy rain and thunderstorms in parts of the South Island on Saturday morning. MetService has issued a severe weather warning for the region, with up to 100mm of rain likely to fall between 4pm Sunday and 7am Monday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday there is a high confidence in severe gales over Westland, the Canterbury high country, Buller, Nelson, Marlborough, Wellington, Kapiti, Wairarapa and Taranaki.

According to MetService, up to 150mm of rain was expected to accumulate north of Fox Glacier, with peak rates of between 20 and 35mm per hour this morning.

The wet weather was set to ease in the South Island tomorrow.

"Of course this isn't yet locked in and with the storm still at least three days away, this could definitely still change", WeatherWatch said. There is uncertainty about its speed and track of Gita, but the passage of this system across New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday is likely to bring highly impactful severe weather.

Meanwhile, all alerts have been lifted in New Caledonia as Tropical Cyclone Gita heads towards the South.

"But there is still a lot of uncertainty in the models, " Mercer said.

The tropical cyclone is expected to curve southeast late today or early on Monday and track toward us. "Exactly where it will hit is also uncertain".

Most of the North Island is due for a hot, humid Sunday as Gita pushes a rainband ahead of it. In the coming days we expect this to still shift around a bit northwards and southwards as it fine tunes the data.

WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan said he had never seen such a southern tropical cyclone before, tweeting that it could break a record if it remained a tropical cyclone when it arrived in the 40th parallel.

"Category 2 is still really powerful, " Mercer said.

Part of this amount is $1.5m that will be used to replenish New Zealand Red Cross relief supplies in the Pacific, as well as targeted help to Tonga and Fiji. "The heavy rain could induce surface flooding, so now is a good time to check drains before it arrives".

Tracking from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (US Government) says the gales will be expanding as it reaches New Zealand with their map showing gales are possible from as far south as Dunedin to as far north as Taranaki even Waitomo and Central Plateau.

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