Cyclone Gita: New Zealand could face 'direct hit'

  • 13/02/2018

As Tonga wakes up from Cyclone Gita's long night of destruction, there are fears New Zealand will be next.

Weather forecasting site Weather Watch warns the powerful storm will make a "direct hit" on us, although it's not clear how intense it will be.

"Computer models have been agreeing for days that Cyclone Gita will swing out into the Tasman Sea then curve back around and make a direct hit into New Zealand (by then as an ex-cyclone)," Weather Watch says on Tuesday morning.

"What still remains unclear is precisely where in New Zealand it will come in to - but most likely the western side of New Zealand. It's also unclear if it will still retain storm conditions (ie, severe weather) by then, or just a weaker area of low pressure."

In Tonga, winds reached upwards of 260km/h, ripping roofs of houses and tearing down trees. There has also been large-scale flooding and Weather Watch says we could be in for it as soon as next weekend.

"Rain from Gita looks quite likely for parts of New Zealand as early as this weekend and into next week," they say.

"As for timing, the numerous reliable models that accurately picked this storm a couple of weeks ago are still not in agreement for New Zealand specifically, with times of a potential landfall here varying from late this coming weekend to mid next week (Sunday to Wednesday).

"Next week is looking most likely - but we'll keep you posted this week as we get more confident."