Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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The tropical deluge ruining New Zealand's end to summer is set to continue, as Tropical Cyclone Gita edges closer. Metservice lead meteorologist Michael Martens said the storm was still a long way away but models suggested it could reach New Zealand early next week. After hitting parts of Fiji's southern Lau islands overnight, the Category 4 cyclone is expected to make its way towards New Caledonia over the next 48 hours. On Sunday, it is due to head south into the Tasman Sea and on Monday move more southeast, potentially arriving in New Zealand on Tuesday. "It is still on track to potentially hit parts of New Zealand early next week; where exactly is still uncertain," Martens said. It would downgrade further from a tropical cyclone to an ex-cyclone, likely becoming a Category 2 storm on Monday or Tuesday, as it entered the relatively cooler waters of the Tasman Sea, Martens said. "But it would still bring very strong winds and heavy rain. I recommend people to keep an eye on the forecast especially over the weekend." The intense cloak of humidity over the North Island is to continue for at least another day, although it has lessened in the South Island. "In the North Island there is still a 20C-22C dew point - the temperature where it reaches 100 per cent humidity," Martens said. "That is still what you would expect in the tropical islands."

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