Tropical Cyclone Gita

19 Feb 2018

Tropical Cyclone Gita, a Category 2 storm, is tracking southward in the north Tasman Sea early Feb. 19. As of 0700 NZDT, the center of circulation was approximately 1,670 km (1,038 miles) northwest of Nelson, New Zealand. Additional strengthening is unlikely in the next 48 hours due to cooler water temperatures. Forecast models indicate that the system will maintain maximum wind gusts in excess of 90 kph (56 mph) as it approaches central New Zealand. Gita is expected to start transitioning to an extratropical cyclone prior to a forecasted landfall near Westport early Feb. 21. 

Even if Gita becomes an extratropical system, heavy rainfall, strong winds, and coastal flooding are likely on both the North Island and South Island through Feb. 22. New Zealand's MetService has issued the following severe weather watches and warnings, which could be updated in the coming days: 

Heavy Rain Warning:Nelson and Buller; Marlborough; Wellington; the Westland ranges; Canterbury High Country and foothills 
Strong Wind Warning:Taranaki, Taihape, and Whanganui; Nelson and Buller; Marlborough; Westland and the Canterbury High Country; Canterbury (from Banks Peninsula northward) 
Heavy Rain Watch:Horowhenua/Kapiti and the Tararua Range; Canterbury Plains (including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula); North Otago 
Strong Wind Watch:Northland, Auckland (including Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui and Taupo); Bay Of Plenty, Gisborne, and Hawkes Bay; Manawatu, Kapiti-Horowhenua, Wellington, and Wairarapa (including the Tararua District) 

Widespread accumulations of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) of rain are likely, with localized areas of up to 20 cm (8 inches) possible where strong thunderstorms occur. The heaviest rainfall is expected to fall primarily in central and northern areas of South Island (in and to the northeast of northern Otago). Significant rainfall is also likely in far southern areas of North Island, including in Wellington. Flash flooding is likely during periods of sustained precipitation. 

Strong winds could down trees and power lines, causing electricity outages and exacerbating potential ground transport disruptions. Authorities could suspend flights, especially at major airports serving Nelson (NSN), Wellington (WLG), and Christchurch (CHC), as the storm transits the country. Cross-island ferry services could be suspended due to rough seas. Storm surge and coastal flooding is possible along the western coast of New Zealand starting late Feb. 20, particularly in low-lying areas of the Karamea Bight.

Further assistance

Campus Travel can be contacted 24/7, 365 days a year.

Number: +61 7 3393 8855 (calls from overseas)

Number: 1300 662 703 (calls from within Australia)


If you require emergency assistance while travelling, please contact Chubb Insurance Assistance. The contact details are listed below:

Travel emergency 24/7 contact

Chubb Assistance phone +61 2 8907 5995 and quote UQ policy number 01PP529201. Reverse phone charge is available.