Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Four districts on New Zealand's South Island remained under states of emergency after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit -- and left behind floods, power outages, road closures and disrupted air and train travel.
The states of emergency were lifted in the Christchurch City, Buller, Grey, Selwyn and Westland districts but remained for Nelson and New Plymouth districts.
Christchurch received about half of the rain originally forecast, as the low-lying district avoided potentially severe flooding.
"We were lucky this time," Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.
Forecasters said they are perplexed by the storm's movements, as it split and formed two eyes that straddled parts of South Island.
More than 23,000 people were without power in Taranaki and Tasman districts.
Police are warning motorists about high winds and debris in roadways. Dozens of tourists became trapped in Whataroa, including 42 from China who spent the night in their buses and 25 others who sought refuge in the township's community center.
Network Operations Manager Phil Marsh said battering winds made conditions difficult for contractors to clear away branches and trees that were causing the outages.
"We are doing our best to restore service but we will not put workers at risk in the high winds. Until the weather settles down we don't expect to make much headway in exposed areas," Marsh told the New Zealand Herald.
Forecasters said Gita would move toward the upper South Island Tuesday evening, and into the southeast on Wednesday.
"The high-impact severe weather across central New Zealand should then ease as Gita moves away on Wednesday," a MetService forecast said.
Large waves during high tides Taranaki, Kapiti & Nelson around 2am tonight, and Kaikoura and Canterbury 9pm this evening, then Weds 10am and 10pm could cause coastal inundation. Head to our Marine Coastal areas at https://t.co/hnwmGxU1gR for expected swell heights. ^RK pic.twitter.com/swQg644Rzn- MetService (@MetService) February 19, 2018