Official Government update – Cyclone Gabrielle
- Cyclone Gabrielle will impact much of the North Island with severe gales, heavy rain and very large waves forecast from today through to Tuesday.
- This is expected to be an unprecedented and dangerous weather event.
- MetService has issued severe weather warnings for many parts of the North Island.
- Keep up to date with MetService weather warnings and advice from your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
- Adhere to all advice and instructions from authorities.
- Cyclone Gabrielle will also exacerbate the impacts for those communities recovering from recent floods
- Avoid travelling during severe weather, and check Waka Kotahi for road closures.
- Do what you can to prepare your household for the coming days.
- Information about preparing for storms can be found at getready.govt.nz.
- Call 111 if you feel in any danger.
- Stay safe. Don’t take any chances.
Kiwis in the upper North Island are waking to rain on Sunday morning as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle closes in on New Zealand.
The entire North Island is under weather warnings and watches, while the upper South Island is also being warned about wind.
In total, MetService has issued 21 weather warnings or watches across New Zealand from Sunday morning through to Tuesday.
What you need to know:
- MetService issues 21 weather watches and warnings across New Zealand.
- Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is sitting close to Norfolk Island.
- Kiwis warned to seriously consider preparing to evacuate if they are in an area prone to flooding or could be inundated by a coastal surge.
Follow along with updates below. Click here if you’re using the app.
11:55am – While high tide isn’t until 12:40pm, Tutukaka Harbour getting very close to spilling onto the road.
11:35am – A video posted to Twitter shows just how heavy the downpour is getting in Whangārei.
11:20am – All lanes have now reopened on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, although reduced speed limits remain in place.
“Extra care is required for all vehicles. High-sided vehicles and motorcycles please consider delaying your journey or detour via SH18/SH16,” Waka Kotahi said.
11:05am – Steve, pictured below, has lived at his Buffalo Beach property in Coromandel since 2009. While he’s never been flooded before, he’s preparing for the worst by sandbagging the house.
10:35am – Surf Life Saving New Zealand is calling on Kiwis in the upper North Island to stay away from the coast and beaches as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle bears down on New Zealand.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) lifesaving operations manager James Lea said clubs in the region will only be operating observational patrols from Sunday and this will continue until the cyclone has passed.
“We want people to stay away from our beaches and coastlines if possible. The conditions are going to be extremely dangerous on both the east and west coasts of Auckland and Northland,” Lea said.
“To be clear, it is not safe to visit the beach while we are experiencing severe weather conditions, and the coastline should be avoided until the weather clears.”
Lea said swells are expected to reach up to seven metres and could create large surges and even endanger those who are not in the water.
Lea added SLSNR would have search and rescue squads on standby in the event of flooding, and anyone who’s in trouble should call 111 and ask for police.
“We don’t want to see anyone hurt, and we are asking people to exercise some common sense and stay away from our coastlines as Cyclone Gabrielle passes through,” he said.
10:22am – MetService has updated its weather warnings and watches on Sunday morning as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle closes in on New Zealand.
MetService issued a red heavy rain warning for Northland, Auckland, including Great Barrier Island and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne north of Tolaga Bay.
The forecaster said rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities.
MetService also issued a red wind warning for Auckland, including Great Barrier Island and other islands in the Hauraki Gulf and the Coromandel Peninsula.
“These winds are expected to produce widespread damage, especially to trees and powerlines and could lift roofs,” MetService said.
“Transport and power networks are likely to be significantly impacted, with road closures and power outages. Conditions will be hazardous for motorists and there is a danger to life from flying debris and falling trees or branches.”
An orange heavy rain warning is also in place for the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa and eastern Marlborough south of Blenheim, including Kaikoura Coast.
A strong wind warning is in place for Northland, Waikato and Waitomo, across to Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, including Taupo and Taihape, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa including the Tararua District, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast and Wellington.
10:10am – The wild weather is starting to affect Kiwis in the upper North Island with over 1400 households in the Far North without power, according to Top Energy.
The worst-hit are the Waikare and Rāwhiti areas south of Russell where 440 homes have lost power and the Taheke area west of Kaikohe where 425 homes are affected. Pukenui north of Kaitaia has also been hit with 239 homes and businesses without power.
Purerua Peninsula in the northern Bay of Islands is also affected with 192 homes without power along with Te Kao just south of Cape Reinga with 138 homes affected.
9:13am – Panic buying is setting in with long queues seen outside an Auckland Pak’nSave on Sunday morning.
9:10am – Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is still tracking to hit the upper North Island with the worst weather expected on Monday and Tuesday.
In its latest tweet, MetService said the cyclone has lost its tropical characteristics but warned it doesn’t mean it’s weaker.
“It will be a very intense system as it moves closer to our shores in the coming days,” MetService said.
8:11am – There are reduced speed limits and lane reductions on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Sunday morning because of severe wind gusts.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said motorists should take extra care. Motorists in high-sided vehicles and motorcycles are urged to consider delaying their journey or using the detour on State Highway 18/State Highway 16 (Western Ring Route).
7:50am – WeatherWatch is warning the effects of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle will be felt across much of the North Island on Sunday, especially later in the day.
WeaterWatch said Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel will bear the brunt of the bad weather on Sunday as strong easterly winds rise to gale force at times and periods of heavy rain set in, particularly in the east.
“Fresh gusty easterlies are expected to develop over the remainder of the North Island throughout the day, with rain, more patchy in nature, developing across central regions and about the east coast. In the west; Taranaki, Whanganui, Kapiti and Wellington should all remain mostly fine, with increasing high cloud and temperatures of around 20 degrees,” WeatherWatch said.
But the wild weather shouldn’t hit the South Island with WeatherWatch saying a stubborn ridge of high pressure enabling a mainly fine and sunny Sunday ahead for many regions.
“A mostly cloudy day for the Tasman district, drizzly in Marlborough and fresh, gusty north-easterlies along the east coast are the only real knocks on the South Island’s Sunday weather, with the vast majority of regions in line for a mostly sunny and settled day ahead,” WeatherWatch said.
“A few isolated showers however may pop up about inland Otago and Southland during the afternoon. Pleasant temperatures for most, particularly inland, ranging between 18-23 degrees.”
The forecaster said Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is located in the north Tasman Sea and is expected to move closer to the upper North Island on Monday and Tuesday.
“This is expected to be a widespread and significant weather event. Significant heavy rain and potentially damaging winds are forecast for many parts of northern and central New Zealand,” MetService said.
“In addition, large waves, storm surges and coastal inundation are possible about exposed eastern coasts of the North Island.
“The amount of rain forecast for the Coromandel Peninsula and northern Gisborne is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to damage roads, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities. Power outages are also very likely.”
A red heavy rain warning is in place for the Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne north of Tolaga Bay from Sunday to Tuesday morning.
MetService warns rain is expected to cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding. Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities.
An orange heavy rain warning has been issued for Northland, Auckland, including Great Barrier Island, Gisborne, from Tolaga Bay southwards and Hawke’s Bay.
A strong wind warning is in place for the Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland from Whangaparaoa southwards, Waikato and Waitomo, across to Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, including Taupō and Taihape, Northland, and Auckland north of Whangaparaoa including Great Barrier Island.
A heavy rain watch is in place for the Bay of Plenty, eastern Taupo and Wairarapa including the Tararua District, while a strong wind watch is issued for Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa including the Tararua District, Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, Marlborough, Nelson and Buller north of Seddonville.
Thames-Coromandel Civil Defence controller Garry Towler warned people should seriously consider preparing to evacuate if they are in an area prone to flooding or could be inundated by a coastal surge.
“Things have changed a little bit and we are now probably confident to say that a very severe and possibly destructive cyclone is descending on the Coromandel,” he said in a YouTube video.
“Now that we have some quite certain information that we are going to have over 400 mils of rain, winds with wind gusts in excess of maybe 140-150 km/h, that we are in a position now to ask people to seriously consider preparing to evacuate.”
Fire and Emergency group manager Shane Bromley added emergency services may not be able to get to you in an emergency.
“Think about your evacuations, make a plan, take your medication, take food, take whatever you need now before we have to come and try and evacuate you,” he said.
“We are unable sometimes to get to you so let’s please make sure we take this seriously and if you feel you need to evacuate, please evacuate now.”