Auckland state of emergency extended ahead of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle

4:48 pm on 9 February 2023
Cyclone Gabrielle could be an intensely destructive weather event around the central and upper North Island.

Cyclone Gabrielle could be an intensely destructive weather event around the central and upper North Island. Photo: Supplied/NIWA

Auckland's state of emergency has been extended ahead of the Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle next week.

Mayor Wayne Brown confirmed the extension via a text with RNZ.

Auckland Council said it was doing all it could to clear the streets of flood-damaged rubbish before Cyclone Gabrielle struck, with it likely to hit Northland on Sunday.

Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula will be next in line for heavy rain and wind.

"It's not looking good," Brown said. "But this time we have the advantage of knowing it's coming."

Brown, who faced criticism for his handling of Auckland's recent floods, promised to communicate more efficiently over the coming days.

"We've learned. We're taking it dead seriously. We took the last one dead seriously but things... turned out not to have been done as well as anyone hoped."

Cyclone Gabrielle is moving south-east from the tropics and Auckland Emergency Management expects it to reach the city by Sunday evening.

The worst weather was expected from Monday to Tuesday and, according to Brown, could cause more damage than the previous storm.

"The ground here is already waterlogged, and we have trees and poles which weren't subjected to heavy wind last time," Brown said.

"There is more likely to be power outages this time, so I'm suggesting that one of the things you should be doing is making sure you have torches with batteries."

AEM duty controller Rachel Kelleher said it was essential for Aucklanders to use the next few days to prepare.

"Our key message for our communities is to use the next few days to get ready for what could be another significant event for our region," Kelleher said.

But she said it was still early, and the true path of Cyclone Gabrielle was not fully understood.

"There's a reasonably high degree of certainty around where it's going to be sitting come Saturday," she said.

"It's then what happens from Saturday onwards that at this point in time is a bit less certain. By early Sunday we should have a fairly good picture."

Auckland Emergency Management was planning to open more evacuation centres in anticipation of the event, Kelleher said.

The trash left on Auckland kerbsides also presented a risk in the event of further flooding.

"The Council's waste solutions team is working with the New Zealand Defence Force to clear items and belongings removed from kerbsides across the region as quickly as possible to ensure they don't cause further issues in the event of further flooding."

Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson echoed the sentiment and urged Aucklanders to take waste to the tip instead of leaving it out.

"The big Auckland cleanup has just become that much more urgent," she said.

"It's very clear that we have to get this kerbside rubbish away as soon as possible before the storm comes."

Auckland's drains were also being cleared as fast as possible, Simpson said.

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