Thousands without power, evacuations begin as Cyclone Gabrielle hits NZ

NZ Defence Force soldiers distributing food and supplies
NZ Defence Force soldiers distributing food and supplies from the Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency logistics base. Image: NZ Defence Force/RNZ News

RNZ News

Cyclone Gabrielle was battering parts of the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand with strong winds and heavy rain last night.

Most of the North Island is covered by some kind of Severe Weather Watch or Warning either for wind, rain or both.

Red heavy rain warnings have been issued for Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel and the northern parts of Gisborne Tairāwhiti.

Red strong wind warnings have been issued for Northland, Auckland and the Coromandel.

Vector said at 7pm 15,000 households in the Auckland area were without power last night.

“Our crews are responding as quickly and safely as they can, given the current weather conditions,” said a spokesperson.

Auckland Harbour Bridge closed
In the Coromandel Peninsula, about 11,000 homes were without power.

The storm has cut supply in Port Charles, Waikawau, Manaia, Tairua, Cooks Beach and parts of Whitianga.

Electricity has also been cut to Paeroa on the Hauraki Plains and Pururi, just south of Thames.

The Auckland Harbour Bridge remained closed overnight due to high winds.

Waka Kotahi made the decision to close the bridge just after 3:30pm yesterday afternoon, which was met with criticism from motorists.

National Emergency Response spokesperson Mark Owen said that while safety was its priority, closing the bridge was very challenging.

The bridge will remain closed until further notice.

Self-evacuations in Gisborne
Many families in Gisborne left their homes voluntarily ahead of the severe wind and rain.

Cyclone Gabrielle was set to reach Gisborne last night, bringing gale-force winds and nine metre storm surges and heavy rain.

Up to 450mm was forecast north of Tolaga Bay before Tuesday.

RNZ will continue live coverage from 5am Monday morning and update any major developments overnight.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins visiting Auckland Transport’s operation centre in Takapuna, North Shore, as Cyclone Gabrielle made landfall. Image: Ashleigh McCaull/RNZ News
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