Published: Tue, February 20, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Christchurch declares state of emergency

Christchurch declares state of emergency

SH60 Riwaka to Takaka is closed due to a slip and fallen trees and about 4000 people are without power between Kina and Takaka, including Kaiteriteri.

Parts of the country are still reeling from a huge storm that prompted authorities to declare states of emergency at the beginning of February.

Cyclone Gita hit the Pacific island nations of Fiji and Tonga last week, packing winds up to 275 km per hour and causing widespread destruction and flooding. It had earlier caused extensive damage in Samoa and American Samoa.

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"The full impact of the storm will be felt overnight and tomorrow morning", said Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel. Residents in low-lying areas of been urged to evacuate.

Residents are told to expect floods and winds of up to 150km/h (90mph).

The council says following significant rainfall in the Takaka catchment, further flooding is expected to occur in the region, including Takaka township.

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The main low pressure system associated with Ex Tropical Cyclone Gita lies east of the South Island on Wednesday meanwhile another low sits west of the South Island. Average temperatures for the summer have already been recorded at 2.4 degrees Celsius above the norm.

Several of New Zealand's bigger storms in the last century have happened in the January to April period, including Cyclone Giselle which included the Wahine Disaster 50 years ago on April 10, and more recently Cyclone Wilma on January 28-29, 2011, and Debbie in April last year.

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