Wellington Scoop

Tropical cyclone on track: first the rain, next the gales


News from MetService
Former Cyclone Gita remains on track to impact central New Zealand today. Heavy rain has set in for much of the Wellington region. The potentially damaging winds and very high waves are expected to begin from early afternoon.

The wind warning for Wellington has been updated for severe north to northwest winds with 140km/h gusts in exposed places tonight.

Wellington.Scoop – February 19
A heavy rain warning has been issued by MetService for Wellington on Tuesday – expect 100 to 120mm of rain between 1:00 am Tuesday and 1:00 am Wednesday.


MetService has issued Severe Wind Warnings for the upper two thirds of the South Island and some western areas of the North Island. The rest of the North Island is on Watch for potential severe winds.

The severe weather will begin early on Tuesday. For the North Island, strong northerly winds will likely have the biggest impact, with especially strong winds for the Taranaki, Taihape and Whanganui regions.

Metlink says it will be operating all its normal bus, train and ferry services tomorrow and Wednesday. It will be managing any impacts that the severe weather may have on its networks and will keep customers up-to-date via the Metlink website.

The Marlborough District Council advises: Anyone in the Marlborough Sounds, especially campers, trampers and boaties, should leave the area today.

News from MetService -February 18
Cyclone Gita, a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone south of New Caledonia, is expected to move southwards over the next couple of days, and curve towards New Zealand. During its journey, it will weaken to a Category 2 Tropical Cyclone, before it undergoes a transition into an extra-tropical cyclone when it reaches about latitude 35S.

MetService Meteorologist Claire Flynn stressed that, although it will lose its status as a tropical cyclone, Cyclone Gita will still be a significant low pressure system, bringing severe weather to many parts of the country. “It will maintain storm force winds around the centre of the storm, and possibly reach hurricane force,” said Flynn. “While it will no longer be a tropical cyclone, that does not mean it has weakened or dissipated.”

Cyclone Gita is expected to bring severe weather to many parts of New Zealand during Tuesday and Wednesday, with the centre of the cyclone passing over the upper South Island overnight Tuesday/Wednesday.

MetService has issued the first batch of Severe Weather Watches, giving details on which areas are most at risk of severe weather during the passage of Cyclone Gita. A Watch for heavy rain is in force for Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast and Wellington from 1am Tuesday to 7am Wednesday.

A Watch for severe gales has been issued for parts of the central and lower North Island including Wellington from 6pm Tuesday till 6am Wednesday – as well as the upper South Island, Westland and Canterbury High Country. In addition, there is a risk of coastal inundation, particularly for areas where strong onshore winds, large waves, and high tides combine overnight Tuesday.

“Many of these Watches will likely be upgraded to Warnings, and more areas could be added,” Flynn said. “Watches and Warnings are reviewed every 12 hours, and more often when necessary. People in the areas highlighted by these Watches need to take time to prepare.”

There are a number of steps people can take to prepare for severe weather, including checking guttering, tying down unsecured items outdoors or moving them inside, checking moorings of boats, and making sure you have an emergency plan in place.

News from MetService – February 17
Cyclone Gita is expected to approach New Zealand from the northwest early next week. 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.

People should be aware of the potential for coastal inundation, especially where high waves, low atmospheric pressure and strong onshore winds come together. Heavy rain may affect some areas and there is a potential for rapidly rising streams and rivers and flooding. Severe gales associated with Gita are likely so people are advised to secure property.

It is considered most likely that Gita will track eastsoutheast across central New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday, with high confidence of heavy rain for the South Island from Westland and Canterbury northwards. There is also a high confidence in heavy rain for the far south of the North Island including Manawatu to Wellington and Wairarapa. The risk of heavy rain is considered to be moderate farther north over the North Island, from Taranaki and the central plateau southeastwards.

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.

Low confidence:
a 20% likelihood (or 1 chance in 5) that the event will actually happen.
Moderate confidence:
a 40% likelihood (or 2 chances in 5) that the event will actually happen.
High confidence:
a 60% likelihood (or 3 chances in 5) that the event will actually happen

Water company making emergency plans

1 comment:

  1. TrevorH, 19. February 2018, 16:33

    Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay will be flooded for sure and probably parts of Miramar too. We can thank the Council which prefers to spend ratepayers’ money on vanity projects and junkets to China rather than essential infrastructure to protect lives and property.