Cyclone “Gita” to bring damaging winds and heavy rain to central New Zealand

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Cyclone Gita, currently located over the Tasman Sea, is forecast to track southeastwards and cross central New Zealand late Tuesday and early Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (local time).

The passage of Gita is expected to bring a period of high-impact severe weather to central New Zealand, Met Service warns.

Heavy rain will cause slips, rapidly rising streams and rivers, and flooding. In addition, Gita will bring severe gales with damaging gusts, so people are advised to secure property and items that may be blown away by strong winds. 

There is also the potential for coastal inundation with high tide overnight Tuesday and before dawn on Wednesday (local time), due to the combination of tides, low air-pressure, strong onshore winds and large waves in excess of 6 meters (19.7 feet) in some places.

Tropical Cyclone “Gita” on February 19, 2018. Credit: NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP/VIIRS

Cyclone Gita TCWC Wellington forecast track on February 19, 2018

Cyclone “Gita” TCWC Wellington forecast track at 19:00 UTC on February 19, 2018

For the North Island, coastal areas from Raglan southwards to southern Wairarapa are most at risk. For the South Island, the risk of coastal inundation is greatest for areas from Buller and North Canterbury northwards.

Tropical Cyclone Gita 3hr precipitation accumulation February 19, 2018

Tropical Cyclone “Gita” 3hr precipitation accumulation at 21:00 UTC on February 19, 2018. Credit: earth.nullschool.net

At 21:00 UTC, February 19, the center of Tropical Cyclone “Gita” was located approximately 927 km (576 miles) northwest of Wellington, New Zealand and has tracked southeastward at 52 km/h (32 mph) over the past 6 hours, JTWC noted. Its maximum sustained winds were 102 km/h (63 mph) with gusts to 130 km/h (80 mph).

“The first few frames of multispectral satellite imagery depict a ragged and elongated low level circulation center with deep convection displaced well to the south due to strong northwesterly vertical shear. Gita is now assessed as fully extra-tropical,” the center added.

The cyclone is expected to continue tracking southeastward with a very gradual dissipation trend.

Tropical Cyclone Gita on February 19, 2018

Tropical Cyclone Gita JTWC forecast track on February 19, 2018

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone “Gita” at 17:50 UTC on February 19, 2018. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8

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