Several media outlets are reporting that ex-Cyclone Gita slammed several parts of New Zealand earlier this week, prompting a State of Emergency and military assistance for parts of the country.
The powerful storm has also caused widespread flooding and forced many locals to evacuate their homes. The storm system is the remnants of Cyclone Gita, which last week ripped through the South Pacific destination of Tonga. Tonga was crushed by Tropical Cyclone Gita with winds of roughly 145 mph. The main damage was on the south coast of the main island of Tongatapu.
According to the News.com.au report, between midday Tuesday and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, local New Zealand time, fire and emergency rescue crews received 1,300 call-outs, mainly for flooded homes, fallen power lines and trees. ABC.net.au is reporting that some New Zealanders affected by Cyclone Gita have been told it could take up to a year to clean up the region.
According to the ABC.net.au report, James Shaw, New Zealand's climate change minister, is pushing for a change in the measurement system for cyclones, urging scientists to consider create a sixth category for cyclones.
A category five cyclone, as defined by New Zealand's MetService, has winds speeds between 134 mph and about 143 mph. This differs from category five cyclones in Australia, which have winds exceeding 174 mph.