New Zealand evacuates people ahead of Cyclone Cook
New Zealand evacuates people ahead of Cyclone Cook
16 Abril, 2017, 10:44
"Cook is expected to approach Coromandel Peninsula during the afternoon, then moving onshore near western Bay of Plenty early this evening".
The BBC's Hywel Griffith says the Bay of Plenty, which suffered flooding last week caused by the tail end of Cyclone Debbie, is expecting 300mm (11in) of rain to fall, which means some houses may be flooded again.
Major holiday routes are closed by slips today and holidaymakers are being warned to stay off the roads unless it is absolutely essential.
The ministry said: "This is an extremely serious weather event".
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MetService is warning locals to brace for power outages and road blocks with the cyclone to bring similar conditions to the storm that sunk the Wahine in 1968, killing 51 passengers.
New Zealanders are bracing themselves for what is anticipated to be one of the country's worst storms in years.
Cyclone Cook's heavy rains followed on from flooding caused by ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie, which hit New Zealand last week after causing widespread damage on Australia's northeast coast.
"The increased chance of additional flooding from further rain would make this task more hard".
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More than 1000 homes have lost power across the Bay of Plenty, according to Powerco, with Whakatane District Council reporting multiple trees have been downed. Thousands of homes were left without power and two people were hospitalised after a tree hit their auto. Several rivers have burst their banks. At first light, lines crews from Horizon Networks and Transpower would start work to fix downed lines.
Swathes of Napier and Hastings were plunged into darkness just after nightfall.
Authorities had feared the storm could hit the city and cause major problems."It seems Auckland has largely survived. unscathed", Auckland Mayor Phil Goff tweeted.
More than 100 schools were shut and universities in Auckland were closing early on Thursday. In Auckland, a city of one and 1 1/2 million people, residents were advised to seek shelter and cancel Easter plans.
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