The impact of Cyclone Gita on NZ

NZ 21/02/2018

Seven provinces of New Zealand are in a state of emergency as the remnants of Cyclone Gita bear down, bringing howling winds and torrential rain.

Here's what we know:

  • State of emergency declared in Christchurch, Buller District, Grey District, Selwyn, Westland, Nelson-Tasman and Taranaki
  • Civil Defence staff have been pre-deployed to the areas expected to be worst affected
  • More than 40 tourists were trapped in buses in Whataroa overnight, two hours south of Greymouth
  • More than fifty schools and daycare centres closed on Tuesday with some expected to close on Wednesday too
  • Flights and trains have been cancelled, and SH1 north of Kaikoura is closed
  • State Highway 6 has been closed from Westport to Greymouth and from Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier
  • State Highway 60 has been closed from Riwaka to Tākaka, cutting off Golden Bay

The Civil Defence Minister is relieved Gita is veering off the warpath.

The ex-cyclone split in two on Tuesday, causing slips and widespread power outages as it travelled in different directions - but potentially minimising the damage to any one area.

The national Civil Defence bunker is in full swing, as damage assessments get underway.

Kris Faafoi says he's just thankful it wasn't any worse.

"People who are most harshly affected wont' think that, but I think some of the areas weren't as affected as we thought might've been - Wellington, for instance."

Powerco says it's had technicians fixing outages in Taranaki and Whanganui since the crack of dawn.

Network operations manager Phil Marsh says the grid has taken a real hammering.

"As of 20 minutes ago when I left our control room, we're got around 13,000 [properties] in Taranaki still off and around about 2000 in our Whanganui region that are off supply."

Mr Marsh warns locals to report outages and stay away from fallen lines.

SH79 between Geraldine and Fairlie has closed.

SH1 and SH8 can be used as an alternate route.

SH9 between Inangahua Junction and Westport is now open.

For live updates on Cyclone Gita head to Newshub.