SYDNEY – Flights at five airports in New Zealand were cancelled on Tuesday due to Cyclone Gita, which last week left one person dead and caused extensive destruction in Tonga.
Air New Zealand reported that it had canceled all flights in and out of Wellington airport due to the cyclone, which was expected to reach central New Zealand with winds of up to 150 (93 miles) kilometers per hour.
In a statement, the airline said that air traffic would also be affected at airports in New Plymouth, Hokitika, Queenstown and Nelson.
Flights were still operating in the airports of Blenheim, the Kapiti coast and Palmerston North, although cancellations are expected if conditions worsen.
“Weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate from midday. We are anticipating major disruptions across the lower North Island and South Island this afternoon,” Air New Zealand said on its Twitter account.
Despite the fact that the storm has lost some of the characteristics of a tropical cyclone, authorities still expected it to bring torrential rains, a tidal surge of up to 10 meters (33 feet) and a rapid increase in river flows.
The arrival of Gita has forced several roads and more than 50 schools to close, while cancellations of train services in Christchurch, Nelson and West Coast, all on South Island, were also expected.