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Southern Spars - North Technology

Predictwind: Cyclone Gita loads up for New Zealand

by Richard Gladwell, 10 Feb 22:00 NZDT
Cyclone Gita - Location Friday evening February 16, 2018 poised in the Tasman Sea ©

Cyclone Gita is expected to hit Niue Island with winds gusting to 50kts.

As a developing cyclone Gita has already hit Samoa and was rated as a Category 2 cyclone - and now listed as Category 3 on a five point international scale. Radio New Zealand reports that a national state of disaster has been declared in Samoa. It is expected to pass slightly to the east of Niue, reducing its imapct. That path was correctly seen by Predictwind.

According to two feeds available in Predictwind the cyclone will deepen and develop after exiting Niue and then take an unusual course as it swings southwest. It will pass south of Fiji, but is expected to go south of Tong and over the top of Nukualofa.

Winds in the sharp end of the cyclone - just ahead of its centre - show an average of 54kts - Force 10 or a Violent Storm on the 12 point Beaufort scale. As the cyclone progresses across the SW Pacific it builds considerably - broadening and deepening and with winds averaging over 80kts at one point according to one feed.

Gita is predicted to take an unusual track across into the northern Tasman Sea before diving south and heading for New Zealand.

The long range forecast is not sufficiently accurate to be able to predict the intensity with which Gita will hit New Zealand or where it will land. The date is more certain - at this stage late next week. However a third feed shows it to be faster moving but less intense and making a landfall on the west coast of the lower North Island. Alternatively it may lose intensity and dissipate.

As a developing cyclone Gita is very impressive. With water temperatures higher in the Tasman Sea than the Pacific Ocean her progress and track will be watched with keen interest.

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