8 Jan 2023

Coromandel residents warned to prepare for 'hard hitting' Cyclone Hale

8:40 pm on 8 January 2023
The heavy rain is expected to hit Monday night, as shown on this NIWA map.

The heavy rain is expected to hit Monday night, as shown on this NIWA map. Photo: NIWA

Civil Defence is warning those in the Coromandel to prepare for Cyclone Hale, which is due to strike the country from tomorrow night.

It comes as bad weather continues for parts of the country, cancelling two ferry sailings out of Wellington today.

Cyclone Hale is currently located southwest of New Caledonia but is expected to head for the northeast of the North Island from Monday night to Thursday, bringing heavy rain, severe gale winds and hazardous coastal conditions.

A severe weather watch is already in place for the Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thames Coromandel Civil Defence manager Garry Towler said the storm will be "hard hitting".

"We've had a huge amount of rain in the last week so the catchments are absolutely saturated.

"We're going to get ongoing slips and road closures and those sorts of things.

"It's these storm surges and the coastal inundation that we have to be really mindful of and ensure that people are informed and kept safe."

Civil Defence is advising people to keep up to date and make an informed decision about whether to hunker down or leave the area.

Tairāwhiti District Council Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga said local authorities and officials were prepared for Cyclone Hale.

Exactly when, and how hard, the storm would hit is uncertain at this stage.

But he said the Tairāwhiti Civil Defence team, community organisations and local hapu are all ready to go, as they wait to see if the weather watch turns to a warning.

Wharehinga said people can get updates on the storm via the Gisborne District Council and Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Facebook pages and websites.

This storm comes as the Coromandel tries to clean up from slips and flooding that sent holidaymakers packing during the week.

Meanwhile, Gisborne suffered around 40 millimetres of ran last night, that caused sewage overflows.

Ship delays out of Wellington

The Interislander's Kaiarahi ferry has cancelled its 1.30pm and 6.30pm sailings out of Wellington on Sunday due to the weather.

The Bluebridge interisland ferry service website said it was also cancelling some sailings later today between Wellington and Picton.

And the bad weather meant a cruise ship due to sail out of Wellington harbour yesterday, had to moor at the port overnight.

The US Noordam arrived in Wellington on Saturday morning and was expected to set sail the same day, but on Saturday night there was heavy rain and gale force winds in the region.

The ship was expected to set sail on Sunday morning, but had still not left by midday.

Difficult travel

The week of heavy rain and wind in various parts of the country is expected to make travelling difficult for motorists returning home from the Christmas break.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council said extreme care is needed on the region's roads as soggy ground continues to bring down slips and trees.

Further north, Waka Kotahi said road users should expect delays on State Highway One from Bombay to Manukau, northbound, due to holiday congestion.

Traffic management and temporary speed restrictions are in place on State Highway three in northern Taranaki due to resurfacing work.

And speed restrictions are also in place on State Highway 59 between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki north of Wellington, due to slip control works.

In the South Island, there is a drop out on State Highway Six from Rai Valley in Marlborough, to Havelock due to extreme weather damage.

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