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Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle: One of the most serious storms forecast for this century

Low confidence: 20% likelihood, Moderate confidence: 40% likelihood, High confidence: 60% likelihood (MetService website Image)

Praneeta Mahajan

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle has been described as “one of the most serious storms forecast for New Zealand this century,” as it remains on the path to reach the country this weekend.

Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, currently in the Coral Sea, is forecast to track towards New Zealand over the next few days. It is forecast to be located to the North of the country on Sunday 12 February 2023.

There is still uncertainty about the exact path Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle will take, but if it is close to the North of the country this could lead to a significant weather event with wind, rain and swell.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology named the cyclone yesterday, 8 February 2023 as MetService expected it to bring severe weather to the upper North Island from Sunday onwards.

MetService announced that Cyclone Gabrielle is expected to bring significant severe weather to northern and central New Zealand from late Sunday onwards.

Prime Minister Hipkins was asked on Thursday whether he had been briefed on the storm and if he had a message to those who could be affected by it.

He said, “We are keeping a real watching brief on weather, even more so at the moment. As we have said, we do expect that there are going to be more extreme weather events and we all need to be prepared for that. So at a Government level, we are making sure that we’re ready to respond quickly when called upon to do so.”

WeatherWatch website said today morning, “We do not say this lightly – but this is looking like one of the most serious storms forecast for New Zealand so far this century. The northern half of the North Island is especially exposed. Global modelling is highly aligned, but not 100% locked in.”

Weather warnings in place

Thames and Coromandel have extended their state of emergency for another 7 days due to risks from the tropical cyclone.

Thames- Coromandel District mayor Len Salt said the key to dealing with the event was being prepared and people’s safety was the number one focus.

He said, “We have been dealing with several events, so our coastlines are vulnerable, and our hills and catchment areas have taken a hammering. I have signed an extension to the declaration of emergency this morning, which extends it for another seven days, that is specifically to have us deal, or to have us prepared for this event that is coming through next week.”

Aucklanders have been urged to prepare for a potential weather event, which is expected to hit on Sunday evening and worsen on Monday and Tuesday.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has urged people to be prepared, and clean the drains, berms and rubbish to prevent flooding and potential health risks.

Whangarei Mayor Vince Cocurullo expected a clearer idea of how the storm would affect the region by late afternoon today.

In coastal areas of Northland, where the high tides on Sunday and Monday are about 1 am and 1 pm, people have been urged to be prepared for a tidal surge.

Get ready for the Weather

To make sure you are prepared for extreme weather, it is advised that you Keep up to date with MetService weather forecasts.

People are advised to work out what supplies they might need and make a plan. Have materials and tools ready to repair windows, such as tarpaulins, boards and duct tape.

It is also suggested to identify a safe place in your home to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors. These could break in strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

It is advised to know which paddocks are safe if you have livestock. To prevent risks from lightning, move livestock away from:

  • floodwaters
  • landslides
  • power lines, and
  • isolated trees.

Be aware that storms can trigger floods and landslides.  Make sure you know how to respond.

Prepare your property for high winds

Tie down your trampoline and other heavy outdoor objects. Remove anything that could become a damaging missile.

Make a list of items to bring inside or tie down when strong winds are forecast. A list will help you remember anything that strong winds can break or pick up.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

 

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