After parts of New Zealand were devastated by flooding, a tropical cyclone is expected to make an impact on New Zealand.
Cyclone Gabrielle will unleash winds up to 96mph (1155kmph), and up to 400mm rainfall across New Zealand.
MetService, the national weather service, issued a strong winds warning for Auckland. This was less than two weeks after Auckland’s largest city and other parts on the North Island were hit by record rainfall. The flash floods and landslides resulted in four deaths .
According to the MetService, the category 3 cyclone is moving southeast over Australia’s Norfolk Island.
New Zealand is seeing rain and wind spreading across the country. Cape Reinga, which is the northernmost point on the North Island, recorded 133kmph gusts at 6am on Sunday (Friday GMT)
Strong winds are likely to hit Auckland on Sunday night. The worst impacts will be Monday and Tuesday.
MetService stated that “We expect to witness impacts from this storm starting Saturday night in the north and spreading southward to other parts the North Island.”
The forecaster stated that “this is expected to be widespread and severe weather event.”
“Very heavy rain, damaging wind and large waves are expected for many parts northern and central New Zealand.”
WeatherWatch, a private forecaster, tweeted earlier this week: “We don’t say it lightly – this is looking like the most severe storms forecasted for New Zealand so far in this century,” adding that the north half of the North Island was “especially exposed”.
Air New Zealand has cancelled several flights that were due to depart the North Island on Sunday and Tuesday.
For the Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne and north of Tolaga Bay on North Island, there are red warnings for heavy rainfall.
“Don’t take chances”
The New Zealand National Emergency Management Agency advised people to be prepared for power outages and road closures. Also, have a bag with you in case of evacuation.
The organisation tweeted, “Don’t take chances.”
It advised people to remember others when purchasing supplies, despite reports of long lines at supermarkets and empty shelves. Sandbags are also in short supply.
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New Zealand’s public broadcaster, RNZ reported that Desley Simpson, Auckland’s deputy mayor, asked residents to ensure they had emergency supplies and plans in place by Sunday.
She said, “Please make sure you only purchase what you really need in the next few days.”
She advised people to think about extended family, friends, and pets, and said they should be ready to leave if necessary.