Cyclone Gita

Heavy rain, wind continues to hit NZ

A front is moving northwards over the upper South Island this morning, then onto the lower North Island this afternoon.

Heavy rain has already fallen in Fiordland and southern Westland, and more is expected in the northwest of the South Island and parts of the lower North Island today.

But MetService severe weather forecaster Eric Brenstrum told Morning Report it should only be a "fraction" of the rain seen last week.

He said the front has weakened as it travelled north - while parts of Fiordland saw 300mm of rain fall yesterday.

Gita rips up parts of New Zealand on its way out

The Christchurch City, Taranaki, Nelson Tasman, Grey and Selwyn councils still have a state of emergency in place to deal with widespread flooding and disruption.

Fire and Emergency said almost 500 people made emergency calls yesterday and through the night.

At least 5000 people in Golden Bay and Collingwood are cut off after heavy rain brought down slips, closing the road in three places on Takaka Hill and State Highway 1 into Kaikōura has been closed by slips.

Alerts lifted in New Caledonia as Cyclone Gita moves away

Initial reports say the category three storm caused no serious damage.

It passed as forecast to the south of the Isle of Pines which was the only part of the territory on full alert.

The system brought gales of up to 130 km an hour as well as heavy rain.

Hilary Roots, who lives on the Isle of Pines, said Cyclone Gita was frightening as it passed through Friday night.

She said there was less rain than forecast but there were very strong wind gusts.

Ms Roots said the eye passed a hundred kilometres to south of the Isle.

Thunderstorms and heavy rain as NZ warned to get ready for Gita

MetService forecasts severe thunderstorms with frequent lightning, and downpours of up to 40 millimetres of rain per hour which may cause flooding.

It said the heavy rain and thunderstorm activity should ease south of Hokitika late morning, and between Hokitika and Westport by about 2pm this afternoon.

MetService has predicted the rest of the weekend to be fairly nice.

However it won't be nice for long as Cyclone Gita is expected to make its way to New Zealand early next week.

Storm surges and damage likely as Gita reaches New Caledonia

Forecaster Rajneel Prasad said gale force winds may affect Noumea as the cyclone approaches.

He said the location of tropical cyclone Gita was 480km east of Noumea at 6am (Fiji time) this morning.

It is expected to track west and southwest from its current location and will pass over the southeast islands of New Caledonia over the next day or so.

Activities at sea are banned on New Caledonia's Isle of Pines and people were being advised to board up their houses and secure their livestock.

A pre-alert remains in place for the rest of the territory.

Homes destroyed on Fiji's Ono-i-Lau island

Cyclone Gita was earlier upgraded to a category five - the highest possible.

The office's director, Anare Leweniqila, said damage assessments were on-going, but so far there were no reports of casualties or injuries on Ono-i-Lau.

"We have only received reports of three completely destroyed houses and we are just working around trying to ascertain the nature of these structures."

Mr Leweniqila said it was unclear if the homes were Fijian bures, made of corrugated iron or wood.

Cyclone Gita to pass directly over Fiji's Southern Lau group

It's expected to strengthen to a category five today as it moves towards Fiji tonight. The last time a category five cyclone hit the Pacific was in February 2016 when Cyclone Winston killed 44 people in Fiji.

Gita earlier hit the islands of Tongatapu and 'Eua as a category four storm, with winds of up to 230km/h.

A hurricane warning remains in force for Fiji's southern Lau group. Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa are expected to be hit with average wind speeds of up to 195km/h, gusting up to 275km/h, Fiji's Meteorological Service director Ravid Kumar said.

Cyclone fears: New Zealand could face direct hit, warnings for Auckland and Northland

And Weatherwatch.co.nz says that although it's not completely clear if it will affect the country, previous cyclones have been deadly because of dangerous rips and large waves.

The tropical cyclone is due to form around Fiji or Tonga and, according to computer modellings, will intensify as it drifts west, possibly becoming "severe".

It's also claiming that it will "be a much bigger storm than [Cyclone] Fehi", which struck the Pacific last week.