Cyclone Gita hits central New Zealand - Roofs off, emergencies declared, trees down, power out

Updated 8:55pm --- Cyclone Gita has hit central New Zealand knocking out power to tens of thousands of people, causing several states of emergency and closing highways due to slips, flooding and trees down.

Special Weather Video: Cyclone Gita arrives in New Zealand tonight

A significant storm is quickly approaching New Zealand today and weather conditions will go downhill around a large portion of the country this afternoon and evening.

With so many moving parts to the storm our video today is a little shorter - because things may change as we head into Tuesday night.

Gita no longer tropical but still a cyclone with severe gales (+4 Maps)

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center - the global organisation that monitors and forecasts all tropical storms - late this morning declared Gita fully "extra-tropical" at latitude 35.5S. But Gita this afternoon remains a storm with winds equal to a category 2 tropical cyclone as it churns towards central New Zealand.

Weather Video: Cyclone Gita to hit central New Zealand on Tuesday PM

Cyclone Gita remains a Category 2 tropical storm in the Tasman Sea, it’s a long way south for a tropical cyclone and shows little signs of weakening very much as it makes landfall in New Zealand on Tuesday evening.

Cyclone Gita - Where the worst of the wind and rain will likely be (+7 Maps)

Cyclone Gita remains a 'low end' Category 2 Tropical Cyclone in the Tasman Sea and will reach New Zealand by Tuesday afternoon and evening, likely making landfall in the north western corner of the South Island at this stage on Tuesday night, with the equivalent of a Category 1 storm.

More details on Cyclone Gita as it approaches NZ (+7 Maps)

Tropical Cyclone Gita remains a Category 2 storm and is located in the central/northern Tasman Sea. Winds are sustained in the centre at around 95km/h.

Here's the latest for New Zealand by qualified meteorologists at The Weather Company especially for

Latest tracking map & details on Gita's 48 hour path to New Zealand

Tropical Cyclone Gita remains a Category 2 storm with winds sustained at aro

Cyclone Gita: A tricky twist in the forecast, plus more FAQs (+10 Maps)

Extensive Coverage --- Cyclone Gita is now a strong Category 2 Tropical Cyclone with central air pressure of 975hPa and continues to track SW - but is turning southerly towards New Zealand and will weaken a little further today as it does that. This small weakening could see sustained winds dropping from 111km/h to 93km/h.

Cyclone Gita: The latest thinking on rainfall totals across New Zealand (+4 maps)

We still have a another day or so to lock this in but here's the first detailed thinking of rainfall accumulations, by qualified meteorologists partners with on a daily basis.

Gita Highlights as of Sunday:

Cyclone Gita - Latest tracking starts to firm up a little more (+7 Maps)

UPDATED 11:45pm Saturday --- Cyclone Gita still remains a Severe Category 3 tropical storm as it moves into the northern Tasman Sea, although it is likely to drop to a Category 2 cyclone overnight.