NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, got a warning on Sunday to get ready for the effects of a storm that hit Australia’s Norfolk Island overnight.
Gabrielle, which was downgraded from a Category 2 hurricane to a subtropical low-pressure system, passed over Norfolk Island. The island was spared from Gabrielle’s “most destructive winds,” according to the Australian outpost’s emergency management authority.
The spotlight shifts to New Zealand, 1,460 kilometres (910 miles) south, where the country’s weather forecaster foresaw the storm’s effects starting on Sunday. Last month, four individuals lost their lives in floods caused by unprecedented rains that pounded Auckland, the country’s largest metropolis.
Georgina Griffith, a spokeswoman for the forecaster MetService, said that the 1.6 million-resident city was set to experience the “full trifecta” of heavy rain, powerful gusts, and storm surges.
“Don’t be fooled if you’re not affected until Tuesday,” she told journalists.
A 133 kph (83 mph) wind gust was recorded overnight on New Zealand’s North Island, and wind and rain were “beginning to spread throughout NZ from the north,” as per MetService.
On Sunday night, Auckland Emergency Management issued a warning that the city was likely to experience significant winds, with gusts of up to 140 kph (90 mph) or higher, starting on Monday.
Air New Zealand announced cancelling numerous long-haul international flights on Monday, Tasman and Pacific Island flights, and domestic services into and out of Auckland as the Gabrielle closes in.
The office of Mayor Wayne Brown told people to get ready, especially by putting away loose items outside and making sure their homes were clean.
After leaving Norfolk Island, the storm was expected to lie off Cape Reingaat, the northernmost point of the North Island, on Sunday afternoon, said MetService.
On Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between New Caledonia and New Zealand that is little over 34 square kilometres (13 square miles) in size, authorities said they were clearing roadside debris and trees, as well as reestablishing power that the storm had cut off.
Emergency Management Norfolk Island stated that there were still a lot of cleanups to do and that it might take some time to restore services like power.
The agency said that the island’s 2,000 residents, some of whom are the descendants of British sailors who mutinied on the HMS Bounty in the 18th century, were “extremely lucky” when the cyclone passed and the winds died down and they were given the all-clear.
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