WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Parts of New Zealand declared an emergency Tuesday as a powerful storm hit, causing flooding and forcing some people to evacuate their homes.
The storm system is the remnants of Cyclone Gita, which last week ripped through the Pacific nation of Tonga, destroying homes, churches and the historic Parliament House. The winds have weakened as the storm has arced through the Pacific, but the weather is still causing disruptions in New Zealand.
National carrier Air New Zealand canceled flights Tuesday afternoon from the capital, Wellington, in anticipation of the storm, while the city of Christchurch declared an emergency. The military has been deployed to some towns where the storm is expected to have the biggest impact.
Dozens of schools have been closed and power outages were affecting thousands of homes late Tuesday.
Christchurch residents were asked to keep showers short and delay washing clothes as the city's wastewater system came under pressure from rain flowing into it.
The meteorological agency MetService was predicting that severe gale-force winds with damaging gusts would continue through early Wednesday and urged people to secure items that might be blown away. It predicted waves could be as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in some places.
However, the agency canceled warnings for some regions late Tuesday, including a heavy rain warning for Wellington, because the storm path had moved away from that area.