10 Feb 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle: East Coast residents in low-lying areas urged to stock up

1:47 pm on 10 February 2023
Ministers and key stakeholders met in Gisborne on Wednesday to discuss land-use issues, particularly in relation to forestry slash.

There is still some woody debris against bridges up the Tairāwhiti coast as a result of cyclone Hale which struck a couple of weeks ago. Photo: Uawa Live

Gisborne District Council is warning residents in low-lying areas to stock up on supplies ahead of tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, and advising campers on the East Coast to pack up and leave, with six metre swells forecast.

MetService issued a weather watch for the region this morning, with 200 to 400mm of rain set to fall in Tairāwhiti between Sunday and Tuesday.

More on Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Group Controller Ben Green said the biggest risks were slips and dropouts damaging "an already fragile roading network" and cutting off access to some homes.

"We're also aware there is still woody debris against bridges up the coast from last month's ex-tropical Cyclone Hale.

"If you're in an area prone to flooding, please ensure you have a grab bag if you need to leave in a hurry, we're also encouraging people to check their properties and clear any blocked drains.

"If you're in an area where access could be cut off by slips or dropouts on roads, please be prepared with enough food and any medicine you require for three days.

"If you rely on power for medical assistance, or have high dependency medical needs, we advise you to make plans to come to town or be in a place where you will have access to what you need."

Contractors were installing 300 sandbags in flood-prone areas around the city and checking drains for any blockages, while council staff were doing pre-storm checks of vulnerable properties.

"We have had calls from the public asking for sandbags, however, these will need to be sourced from hardware stores in town or places like Bay Trade Supplies and Resene."

Harbourmaster Peter Buell said all boats at anchor in the bay would be asked to leave by 10pm Monday until noon on Wednesday due to the high swells and wind.

The unsealed roading network will be closed to heavy vehicles from 6pm Sunday.

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