Authorities in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand have asked its residents to brace for Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact which hit Australia’s Norfolk Island overnight.
Auckland which was hit by record rainfall last month readies itself for the full impact of the severe storm Gabrielle from Sunday night. The spokesperson for the country’s weather forecaster, MetService, Georgina Griffith said, “The city of 1.6 million was in line for a full trifecta of heavy rain, strong winds and storm surges.”
She was quoted as saying “Don’t be fooled if you’re not affected by Tuesday” to the reporters.
The Met Service reported, “wind and rain are spreading from the north of New Zealand” with a wind gust of a speed of 140 km per hour (87 miles per hour) on the North Island on Sunday afternoon.
The MetService cautioned that “the bulk of the rain is expected on Monday even though rainfall amounts over the next three days indicate that things get going”, as the authorities have tipped rain of up to 40 mm (1.6 inches) on Monday.
Cyclone Gabrielle hit Australia’s Norfolk Island and draws in to lash the northern regions of New Zealand. The tropical cyclone was earlier upgraded by the Australian weather bureau to a category 3 storm generating winds of 118 -159 km per hour and gusts up to 224 kilometres per hour (140mph)
At present, it has been reduced to a subtropical low-pressure system from a Category 2 cyclone as its most destructive winds nearly hit the island, before heading 1,460 kilometres (90 miles) south towards New Zealand.
The MetService said, “The severe storm, on Sunday afternoon, was on track to lie off Cape Reinga at the North Island’s north end after moving away from Norfolk Island.”
The authorities said they were clearing out debris and trees from roads and restoring power knocked out by the storm on the 34 square km Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean which is between New Caledonia and New Zealand. They further added that the residents were safe, and ‘extremely fortunate” as the cyclone passed.
Preparedness against Cyclone Gabrielle
Weather forecasters have issued “red” heavy wind and rain warnings for North Island and Auckland, as the residents began readying themselves. The office of Mayor Wayne Brown has urged its residents to prepare against the severe storm Gabrielle, including by securing loose outdoor items and clearing houses of debris.
Tens of Thousands of Sandbags have been distributed as there have been concerns about homes being vulnerable to flooding due to sodden ground and weakened infrastructure.
Evacuation centres have been set up and residents have been preparing accordingly. Auckland’s Emergency Management said it was working on setting up 26 emergency shelters in properly functioning condition, in the city in time for the potentially devastating weather’s arrival.
The authorities have asked them to store enough supplies to last them for at least three days in case they are trapped at home.
Over 36 schools and universities will remain closed across Auckland even though no formal order has been issued by the Ministry of Education. The InterCity bus network will cut down its services.
The Auckland airport authorities have informed that airlines were going to announce flight cancellations due to the “evolving situation,” and have asked passengers with travel bookings to stay updated with new developments. With Gabrielle nearing in, Air New Zealand announced cancellations of multiple long-distance international flights on Monday along with Tasman and Pacific Island flights and domestic services in and out of Auckland.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins asked the citizens to stay updated about the severe weather and to take the weather warning seriously. He said, “Make sure you’ve got your emergency kits, and are informed about the nearest evacuation shelters.”