Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita is a strong tropical cyclone that was the most intense to impact Tonga since reliable records began, and it's now on route to hit New Zealand with winds hitting 124mph.
The Fiji Meteorological Service said on Friday Gita had weakened to a category 3 storm and was about 470km west-southwest of Conway Reef by the early afternoon. It was moving west about 24kmh, and expected to pass to the south of Vanuatu and New Caledonia overnight Friday.
"There remains uncertainty with regards to the speed and track of Gita, but the passage of this system across New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday is likely to bring a period of highly impactful severe weather," MetService said on Friday night.
"There is high confidence of severe gales and heavy rain spreading across central and northern New Zealand on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, winds associated with Gita are likely to cause large waves to affect some coastal places, and the expected storm surge allow run-up of waves in some low-lying coastal places, particularly at high tide."
FORECAST TO 1200 UTC SAT 17-FEB-2018
Tropical Cyclone Gita was analysed over open waters, to the south of
Vanuatu, near 22.8S 170.0E at 13:00 New Zealand time today. The
system is currently a category 3 at 959hPA and moving to the west at
13 knots. It is expected to curve to the south of New Caledonia
tomorrow (Saturday) while crossing 25S.
Another low was analysed near 22.5S 157.5W, near the soutern Cook
Islands. This low, or any new low in this region, may deepen over the
next few days. However, this seems to be in response to a sharp upper
trough or cut-off low, and thus in a high wind shear environment. The
system is unlikely to be of true tropical nature. Thus the chance of
a tropical cyclone developing in this region in the next 24-36 hours
OUTLOOK UNTIL 1200 UTC TUE 20-FEB-2018
Tropical Cyclone Gita continues to track southwards on Sunday and is
likely to encounter an upper trough in the northern Tasman Sea. The
system is likely to undergo Extra-tropical transition on Sunday
before tracking to the southeast towards New Zealand on Monday under
the influence of the upper trough.
Another region of interest is the region just to the south of the
Cook Islands, where there is potential for a low to deepen. This
however,is most likely to form in a high shear environment due to a
sharp upper trough or possible even a cut-off low. The chance of a
low in this region to become a tropical cyclone is LOW.