Cyclone Gabrielle is bringing strong winds and heavy rains to parts of New Zealand’s North Island, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported on Sunday.
Most of the North Island is covered by some kind of Severe Weather Watch or Warning either for wind, rain or both, according to RNZ.
Heavy rain warnings have been issued for Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel and the northern parts of Gisborne Tairawhiti.
Red strong wind warnings have been issued for Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel.
Thousands of people in the region are without power while some people in Coromandel and Gisborne are already starting to evacuate. Auckland Council is closing all non-essential services for Monday and Tuesday.
According to power company Vector, there were widespread power outages, especially in exposed areas across north Auckland.
It said about 15,000 customers were without power at 7 pm.
“This number will change constantly as we restore homes and businesses but, with the weather due to worsen, we expect further outages overnight and tomorrow,” the company said in a statement.
Due to the cyclone, schools across Auckland will remain closed from Monday.
According to CNN, over 36 schools and universities will shut their doors despite no formal order from the Ministry of Education. The InterCity bus network will also reduce its services.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in a press conference with local media on Sunday called on residents across Auckland to minimize non-essential travel, urging those who could work from home to do so.
“We do expect severe weather is on the way so please make sure you’re prepared, make sure you have your preparations in place, if you have to stay put for a period of time or if you have to evacuate,” Hipkins told reporters, according to CNN.
Recently, Hipkins visited Auckland following the catastrophic floods that affected much of the region, RNZ reported.
Aucklanders have been warned more rain is forecast in the coming days and the clean-up will be a lengthy process, RNZ added.
In relation to the matter, Hipkins said “The Meteorological Service has confirmed that yesterday was Auckland’s wettest day on record. Having just surveyed some of the extensive damage both on the ground and in the air, it’s clear that it’s going to be a big cleanup job. There are three confirmed fatalities and at least one person is missing as a result of the weather”, according to RNZ, New Zealand’s independent public service multimedia organisation’s report.
Hipkins during his visit to the flood-affected area offered his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. (ANI)