Warning that 'extreme weather' is heading for Auckland

Tropical Cyclone Cook was expected to bring heavy rain to already flooded areas.
FIJI METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE/FACEBOOK

Tropical Cyclone Cook was expected to bring heavy rain to already flooded areas.

Aucklanders have been warned that the region could experience "extreme" weather conditions on Thursday.

The MetService is forecasting possible wind gusts of 140kmh or more during Thursday afternoon, a significant amount of rainfall is expected and marine conditions are expected to be strong to severe.

Auckland Transport Group Manager AT Metro Operations Brendon Main said on Wednesday that if winds reached those levels public transport would be affected.

Localised downpours across Auckland were causing surface flooding.
CHRIS SKELTON/FAIRFAX NZ

Localised downpours across Auckland were causing surface flooding.

"The high winds are likely to mean ferry services will have to be cancelled. There are likely to be vehicle restrictions on the harbour bridge affecting double decker buses with reduced services and rail services will have to be reduced or cancelled," he said.

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"We are closely monitoring advice from the MetService and working with Auckland Civil Defence but it seems inevitable that there will be service disruptions throughout the afternoon and into the evening."

Clevedon, in Auckland's rural south, was battered by the Tasman Tempest in March and the tail end of Cyclone Debbie in ...
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Clevedon, in Auckland's rural south, was battered by the Tasman Tempest in March and the tail end of Cyclone Debbie in early April.

Auckland Transport said it was also likely that there would be further flooding throughout the region.

"Our advice to public transport users is to follow media reports and look for updates on the AT website, Twitter and Facebook and allow extra time for your commute."

The warning came after rains began hitting the already waterlogged region in earnest.

The Fire Service responded to numerous reports of flooded properties across Auckland after a deluge soaked the city through the middle of the day on Wednesday.

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Crews had received call-outs to houses in Silverdale, Red Beach, Browns Bay, Rosedale, Waiake, Totara Vale and Orewa in north Auckland, and Glen Eden and Mt Roskill in west Auckland. 

The loading bay of the Countdown supermarket at Three Kings Plaza was also flooding, a Fire Service spokesman said. 

The cyclone departed New Caledonia on Tuesday afternoon and was tracking to hit New Zealand on Thursday.

Auckland Civil Defence was warning Great Barrier Island residents to prepare for some of the "most severe weather they've seen in recent times" as they take the first hit of the storm. 

Cyclone Cook is expected to bring "extremely high winds" of up to 165kmh-plus, Aaron Davis, the head of emergency management operations for Civil Defence, said. 

Current forecasts show the cyclone arriving about midday Thursday, Davis said. 

"The rain, combined with severe wind and coastal storm surge, could create extreme impacts for Great Barrier Island. Islanders need to brace themselves."

Davis said now was the time for Great Barriers' community spirit to "kick into gear".

He urged people to spend Wednesday planning for the weather by making sure properties were secured, stock was moved and gutters and drains were cleared. 

"If your property may be at risk of flooding or slips, consider ahead of time whether you may need to stay with friends or family for the duration of this storm event," he said. 

MetService has predicted between 120-160mm of rain will fall across Auckland from 9am Wednesday to 9pm Thursday. 

Maximum rainfall rates are forecast to be about 30-40mm per hour, with thunderstorms possible.

"Worse case scenario, there could be higher rainfall totals than the previous two storms," Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said.

Noll said it was important to watch the weather forecasts, as the cyclone could track "slightly differently across the country, and Auckland could be spared from the worst of it."

The forecast has sparked warnings from the Auckland Council, Civil Defence and the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Auckland Civil Defence emergency operations manager Aaron Davis said contractors, emergency services and utilities companies were all on standby.

IS YOUR SUBURB FLOOD-PRONE?
* Make sure drains and gutters are cleared
* Report blocked drains, flooding and trees down on public land to the council on 09 301 0101
* Move any items in flood-prone areas somewhere they won't get wet or damaged
* Prepare for the possibility that your road access may be cut off and ensure you have food and provisions on hand in case of isolation
* Check on neighbours and family, especially if they are in at-risk areas or might be affected by flooding or slips.

ADVICE TO GREAT BARRIER ISLANDS RESIDENTS
Consider postponing non-essential travel both on the island and to and from Great Barrier Island
Visit SeaLink for the most up-to-date ferry schedules and information
If flying, check with your airline to see if flights are delayed or cancelled.

ON THE ROADS
Always drive to the weather conditions and never drive through floodwaters
If you get stuck in a flood, get out of your car and move to higher ground immediately, taking great care in the floodwaters
If driving at night, drive slowly, especially through flood-prone areas as you may encounter flooding at short notice
If your property or area may be affected by slips or power outages, prepare for the possibility that your road access may be cut off and ensure you have food and provisions on hand in case of isolation
Never attempt to drive over slips, and treat power lines as live at all times.

 - Stuff

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