NZ Cyclone: Power Outages to more than 17,000 Northland Customers

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More than 17,000 customers in Northland were left without power on Sunday night with wind gusts of more than 100km/h bringing down trees and branches on to power lines, Civil Defense Northland confirms.

Both Northpower and Top Energy NZ in the Far North advised that customers without power are likely to remain without power until the situation improves.

“Until the wind abates, we will be unable to work to repair the damage and anticipate that affected customers could be without power for several days. The situation may be complicated by being unable to access areas,” a spokesperson said.

The latest New Zealand MetService report issued 8:30am Mon 13 Feb says Post-Cyclone Gabrielle, “continues to throw heavy rain, strong winds and massive waves our way”.

In the 12 hours to 7am:

🌧 93.3mm at Glenbervie Forest (near Whangārei)

💨 160km/h gust at Channel Island (Northern tip of Coromandel Peninsular)

🌊 11-12m waves along Northland east coast.


CIVIL DEFENSE NORTHLAND

CYCLONE GABRIELLE UPDATE 5.25AM MONDAY 13 FEBRUARY

Here’s an initial summary of the overnight weather and its impacts on Northland so far – a more accurate picture will emerge throughout the day as the relevant agencies and organisations are able to make assessments.

Unfortunately – although we wish we could bring you better news – there is still more heavy rain and strong winds to come and it will be tomorrow (Tuesday) before we see conditions start to ease.

We know many people are on edge – please check in on and offer support and encouragement to friends, family and neighbours today, especially those who may be on their own or vulnerable in other ways.

MetService New Zealand advises that Cyclone Gabrielle is currently about 150km north-east of Cape Reinga and is ‘re-curving’ south-west to pass by Northland today, bringing further rain and more very strong south-easterlies. These will start to turn to the south-west later today with some very strong gusts – overnight conditions will become slightly drier but there will still be very strong winds.

So far Northland has received gusts of up to 140km/h. The majority of Northland – Fire and Emergency’s callouts overnight have been for fallen trees and downed power lines, with smaller numbers of roofs lifting and sheds being blown down. The combination of lower barometric pressure and storm surge has bought flooding to a number of coastal locations and there have also been reports of boats being blown ashore.

The Northland Regional Council Hydrology team advises that most of the rain so far has fallen on the east coast, from Kaeo in the north to the Brynderwyns in the south. The highest totals over the 30 hours from 9pm on Saturday to 3am today have been near Whangarei, with 188mm recorded by the regional council’s Glenbervie rain gauge, 174mm at Water Street in Whangarei, and 146mm recorded at Puhipuhi. There has significantly less rain in locations such as Kaitaia or along the West Coast.

Due to the relatively low intensity of the rainfall so far, most rivers are coping at this point.

However, as the centre of the low pressure system moves closer throughout the day, this is likely to result in even higher tides than we have had so far. The next high tides for Whangarei are about 12.45pm today, and then about 1.00am tomorrow morning. High tide on the Northern Wairoa at Dargaville has just passed at about 4.30am.

As mentioned in yesterday evening’s update, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency – Northland closed SH1 between Brynderwyn and Waipu due to large slips, with the previous detours now back in place: light vehicles may detour via Kaiwaka and Mangawhai, while heavy vehicles must detour via SH12/SH14 (via Dargaville). Further road closures are likely.

So in summary, please continue to bunker down as best you can throughout today and use the day to deal with any items around your home that have the potential to cause issues in the weather that is still to come. And please also give each other support and ask for it if you’re in need.

We understand about 17,000 Northland customers are without power and will bring you updates on these as soon as the two electricity providers have been able to complete their assessments.

If you need information, assistance or to report urgent cyclone-related issues, here are the key contact numbers for each district:

• Whangarei: 0800 932 463

• Far North: 0800 920 029

• Kaipara : If you require welfare assistance due to Cyclone Gabrielle please contact 09 439 1111. To report damage to roads or log other service requests please phone 0800 727 059.

Please call 111 immediately if life or safety are at risk.