Christchurch declares state of emergency

Beulah Primary School building damaged by Tropical Cyclone Gita. 20 February 2018

There are widespread powercuts across Taranaki with trees down across a number of roads.

CHRISTCHURCH and other districts on the South Island of New Zealand declared a state of emergency this week as Cyclone Gita tore through the country, leaving many without power.

Local states of emergency are still in place for Taranaki, Christchurch City, Buller, Grey, Selwyn, Westland, and Nelson and Tasman districts.

'The full impact of the storm will be felt overnight and tomorrow morning, ' she said, urging residents of low-lying areas to evacuate.

The full force of Cyclone Gita hit Tonga with 275 kph winds last week causing extensive damage.

They also helped pump water from flooded homes in several regions throughout the country and assisted with rescues and evacuations.

Air New Zealand said all flights to the capital would be grounded from 2.45pm as weather authorities issued warnings of severe weather and heavy rain and gusts of up to 150km/h. The cyclone also hit Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa.

"Until the weather settles down we don't expect to make much headway in exposed areas", Marsh told the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand Civil Defence warned people to expect flooding in the town's main street "over the next few hours".

The council has urged people to stay inside and not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

The TranzAlpine tourist train service was cancelled on Tuesday and for Wednesday as visitors were encouraged to leave low-lying areas.

Ex-cyclone Gita has been downgraded to a storm but still causing damage.

Climate experts are predicting New Zealand will mark one of its hottest summers since records were first kept in the 1860s. Compared with 2017, wine grapes in the vineyards are three weeks ahead in their development.

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