15 Jan 2022

Cyclone Cody: MetService warns of east coast sea surges and rips

6:26 pm on 15 January 2022

The cyclone moving towards East Cape may not be as damaging on the North Island as previously indicated but MetService says coastal communities and people on holiday along the eastern coasts of the North Island should be on alert for high waves over the coming days.

waves, sea, ocean

MetService forecasts Cyclone Cody may cause coastal inundation about exposed eastern coastlines. (file pic) Photo: 123rf

Cyclone Cody is currently in waters to the north of New Zealand and is now expected to pass near East Cape on Monday.

Waves are already getting larger along Northland's eastern coastline ahead of the cyclone.

MetService said hazardous conditions in the water were still expected, with large swells and significant sea surges and rips possible around exposed eastern coastlines of the North Island.

However, the cyclone was expected to track further east than previously thought, which should reduce its impact on the North Island.

The largest risk for Northland to Bay of Plenty was from today until Monday, while the greatest risk of unusually large waves from Gisborne to Wairarapa was from tomorrow until Tuesday.

A heavy rain watch has been issued for Gisborne from Monday and a strong wind watch is in force for Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty, also from early Monday morning.

MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said Cyclone Cody's forecast path had moved progressively eastwards over the last couple of days, but wind and rain were still likely to turn up around eastern parts of the North Island on Monday.

"Waves of around seven metres have been observed near the Bay of Islands this morning and we're forecasting large waves to turn up along the coast down to the Wairarapa in the next few days."

Areas away from the eastern coastline were unlikely to be affected by the cyclone and could expect fine weather.

MetService said the cyclone was forecast to head towards the Chatham Islands from late Monday.

Tairāwhiti officials earlier said they were preparing for a worst-case scenario as the cyclone approached.

Gisborne Civil Defence emergency manager Ben Green said they wanted to be prepared for any scenario.

"We're probably as well set up as we can be going into what's hopefully potentially just a glance of the system coming through."

Green said they had been making courtesy calls to ensure people in remote areas of the region were aware gale force winds, intense rain, and high seas were likely.

He said some people had been completely unaware of the possible weather event.

River levels were being monitored and there had been additional cleaning of sewers and stormwater pipes, he said.

The transport agency, Waka Kotahi, said people should be prepared for large swells on low-lying coastal roads, as well as heavy rain and severe gales.

This kind of weather could cause slips, with debris and trees falling on the roads.

Waka Kotahi's national journey manager Helen Harris said high-sided vehicles need to be particularly cautious in those type of conditions.

She said drivers of high-sided vehicles should consider not travelling until the severe weather died down, even if the roads were open.

Crews would be monitoring the situation closely, and would close roads if the weather got too dangerous.

Cyclone Cody creates flare-ups at Kaimaumau

Firefighters in Northland say more smoke due to high winds may cause stress for some locals near the Kaimamau blaze.

Higher winds and gusts from Cyclone Cody may bring more flare ups and smoke.

Fire and Emergency said this isn't something to worry about, but if people are affected by the smoke they should keep their windows and doors shut.

Anyone with health issues should call Healthline.

Sixty-five firefighters with eight helicopters are working on the fire.

The fire has not spread and is still about 2400 hectares with a perimeter of 50km.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs