Ex-tropical Cyclone Gita is curving towards New Zealand after it left a devastating trail of destruction through Tonga and parts of Samoa, southern Fiji and New Caledonia. The regions of Nelson, Marlborough and Christchurch are forecast to experience heavy, prolonged rainfall (up to 200mm in 24 hours).
Statistical analysis of the forecast rainfall suggests that widespread flooding will not be experienced, however some localised flooding due to blocked drains may occur. There is a low risk of fluvial flooding from the following rivers; Waimakariri River, Hutt River and Wairau River. Some streets in Wellington and surrounding towns have experienced minor flooding.
The storm is tracking from West to East, passing over Nelson, Marlborough, Blemheim and Christchurch. Wind fields are expected to impact the majority of New Zealand. The impacts from high winds of up to 120km/hr are likely to exceed damages of that caused by flooding.
The storm is expected to have passed over New Zealand by Thursday, with the most pronounced impacts occurring late afternoon (GMT) Wednesday 21st Feb.
The rail service from Greymouth to Christchurch has been cancelled throughout Wednesday, with up to 1400 passengers being affected. Air New Zealand has cancelled all flights in and out of Wellington until Wednesday. Ferries are still running, however delays are possible. All schools in the Buller District are closed until Thursday.
Gita is not expected to be a significant flood loss event; wind loss is expected.
We’ll continue to monitor the event and will provide an update if the flood situation worsens.