New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga – Tropical Cyclone Gita Update (GDACS, JTWC, Meteo France Nouvelle-Calédonie, Government of Tonga) (ECHO Daily Flash of 16 February 2018)
Tropical Cyclone GITA continued moving south-southwest away from Fiji and Tonga. On 16 February at 0.00 UTC, it was located 230 km south-east of Mare island (New Caledonia) and had maximum sustained winds of 176 km/h.
GITA is forecast to weaken and pass approximately 100-150 km south of the islands of Koutoumo and Pins (New Caledonia) on 16 February morning UTC. It might then pass west of Norfolk Island on 18 February and could reach New Zealand on 20 February.
Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge could continue to affect New Caledonia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand over the coming days. Meteo France New Caledonia has issued a Tropical Cyclone alert level 2 for the island of Pins and a Tropical Cyclone pre-alert for the rest of the country.
According to national authorities, as of 16 February, in Tonga 4 521 people were moved into 108 evacuation centres in Tongatapu island and into 22 centres in Ha'apai group of islands. Preliminary building assessment from Copernicus Emergency Management Service reported that over 4 200 buildings have been damaged (either possibly damaged, damaged or destroyed) in Tongatapu and 'Eua.