15 Feb 2023

Live weather updates: Cyclone Gabrielle unleashes fury across North Island

12:27 am on 15 February 2023
The Waikare Bridge at Putorino - SH5 Napier-Taupō - Cyclone Gabrielle damage

The Waikare Bridge at Putorino - SH5 Napier-Taupō - damaged during Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo: Supplied / Tony Alexander

Hawke's Bay Civil Defence says a women has died in Putorino, after a bank collapsed onto her home.

Police visited the property following a missing person's report and attempted to rescue her but were unsuccessful.

It comes as MetService says Cyclone Gabrielle is now east of East Cape and is expected to continue moving slowly away.

It says severe weather will ease in most places before dawn, although heavy rain will hit central New Zealand through until Thursday.

Large waves, storm surges and coastal inundations are still affecting exposed North Island coasts.

MetService has cancelled strong wind warnings for Northland, Marlborough, Nelson, Tararua, Kapiti-Horowhenua, Wairarapa and Taranaki.

A heavy rain warning for Taranaki has also been cancelled.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday afternoon that while the weater was expected to ease overnight, it did not mean the danger would ease as quickly.

"People should still expect some bad weather overnight, particularly on the East Coast… as we know from experience over the last few weeks, even if the rainfall eases off a bit, more rainfall can compound on top of the rainfall that we've already seen.

"So when it comes to slips and so on, we could still see more of that even as the weather starts to ease. We're still in for a bumpy time ahead."

NZ Civil Defence said on social media "Rain has eased for some of the hardest hit areas, but it can take a while for flood water and raging rivers to recede, meaning caution is still required.

"Cyclone Gabrielle slowly moves away from the country in the next few days, although there will be further spells of rain in the second half of the week as the nation moves into clean up and recovery mode.

"This is still an unprecedented and dangerous weather event. Stay safe. Do not take any chances. Continue looking after each other. Check on friends, whānau, neighbours and anyone who might need your help."

At least 2500 people have been displaced by Cyclone Gabrielle this week, according to the latest estimates, Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty said on Tuesday afternoon.

Hipkins said it was the most significant weather event in New Zealand so far this century and comparable to 1988's destructive Cyclone Bola.

A national state of emergency has been declared after Cyclone Gabrielle unleashed fury across the North Island.

This is only the third time in New Zealand history a National State of Emergency has been declared.

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Look back over Tuesday's weather updates below:

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