New Zealand – Ex-Cyclone Gita Brings Strong Winds, 8 Metre Waves and Flooding

The remnants of Cyclone Gita passed over New Zealand between 20 and 21 February, 2018, bringing with it strong winds, high waves and heavy rain.

Earlier this month Tropical Cyclone Gita caused severe damage on the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

In New Zealand, MetService recorded peak gusts of 144 km/h on Stephens Island between 21:00 to 22:00, Tuesday 20 February.

Waves of 7.9 metres were reported at Port Taharoa Buoy on Tuesday evening and as high as 8.3 metres at Port Taranaki Buoy, with one rogue wave of up to 15 metres, according to MetService.

Rainfall totals for the storm exceeded 100 mm in at least 15 different locations between 19 and 21 February. Hundalee Ranges south of Kaikoura recorded 296.5 mm during this period.

Motueka, Hurunui, Arthur’s Pass, Leith Saddle, Dawson Falls (Mt Taranaki), Porter’s Pass, Tekapo and Cooptown (Banks Peninsula) all recorded more than 120 mm. Karori in Wellington recorded 90.6 mm of rain.

Several places exceeded their average monthly rainfall totals for February during the storm, including Wellington (80.6mm storm total / 69 mm February average), Kelburn (80.6 mm / 67 mm), Christchurch Airport (69.2mm / 44mm), Le Bons Bay (96.6mm / 45mm) and Dunedin Airport (60.2mm / 43 mm)

Rainfall from ex-cyclone Gita in New Zealand. Image: MetService New Zealand

Thousands were left without power in Taranaki. Roads were blocked by flood water or landslide debris around West Coast, Wellington and Nelson-Tasman.

States of local emergency were declared in several areas. These have been terminated in Westland, Buller, Grey and Selwyn Districts, and in Christchurch City. Local states of emergency remain in place for the Nelson-Tasman region and New Plymouth district.

Golden Bay in Nelson-Tasman region is isolated after the closure of State Highway 60 due to flooding. As many as 1,000 people are thought to be stranded there.

Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence said it “has arranged for a delivery of food and essential supplies by barge to Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay, which will arrive late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Work is also happening to ensure a regular supply continues by sea as long as required.

“The limited fuel supply in Golden Bay is being managed with a $30 worth of fuel per vehicle per day restriction in place. Arrangements have been made so that emergency services and their volunteers, contractors working on the recovery, medical staff and other key personnel have adequate access to fuel.”

Photos below of flood damage in Nelson-Tasman region caused by ex-cyclone Gita. Photo credits: Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence

Flooding caused by ex-cyclone Gita in Nelson-Tasman, New Zealand, February 2018. Photo credits: Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence
Flooding caused by ex-cyclone Gita in Nelson-Tasman, New Zealand, February 2018. Photo credits: Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence
Flooding caused by ex-cyclone Gita in Nelson-Tasman, New Zealand, February 2018. Photo credits: Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence
Flooding caused by ex-cyclone Gita in Nelson-Tasman, New Zealand, February 2018. Photo credits: Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence