The Metservice is talking up a storm - and events around the greater Waikato region are being put on hold with Cyclone Lusi predicted to give us a good thrashing today.
The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is keeping a close eye on the storm and is taking "all necessary preparatory steps" after MetService upgraded its alert for the weekend to a formal severe weather warning.
Lusi is expected to pass just to the northwest of North Cape about midday today.
The Group Emergency Co-ordination Centre in Hamilton is activated and in monitoring mode and will be staffed 24 hours a day over the weekend.
Two staff will be on duty at all times, with others on standby if need be.
Between 100 and 120 millimetres of rain was forecast to fall on the Coromandel Peninsula from early today through to early tomorrow morning.
Strong winds gusting to 130kmh are also expected for the Coromandel and the Kaimai Ranges from this morning to late evening.
There is also a severe weather watch in place for the Central Plateau.
The rest of the Waikato Region is expected to be affected by strong winds and heavy rain.
"This scenario means there may be some localised rain-related issues, such as local flooding and slips, but the main risks will be from wind, particularly across eastern Waikato, including the Coromandel Peninsula and the Kaimai Ranges," group controller Lee Hazlewood said.
"Rough seas will also be an issue to look out for along the eastern coastline."
Waikato Regional Council's coastal harbourmasters have been busy securing vessel moorings and looking for potential hazards ahead of Cyclone Lusi. Boaties are also advised to do their own mooring checks if it is safe to do so. Anyone considering heading out on to the water is advised to check marine forecasts in their area carefully before doing so, and also while they are on the water.
Plenty of sports clubs will be cancelling their usual Saturday morning matches, and some bigger events have also been scratched.
Thames Heritage Festival Opening Parade, due to take place this morning, has been cancelled, as has a fete in the town's Victoria Park.
Te Aroha's A Day in the Domain should probably now be known as a day inside the racecourse, with the scheduled live music, arts, craft and food stalls all heading to the indoor venue.
Meanwhile Stanley Avenue School in Te Aroha was due to host their twilight gala last night. The fundraiser has been postponed until Wednesday. Likewise Tahuna School has postponed its 12th annual fishing competition until March 22 and 23 and the Totally Thames Trolley Derby has been put off until March 23.
Other organisations are leaving it to the last minute to decide whether they will be going ahead with their events.
The Waipa Fun Run was at press time scheduled to proceed tomorrow. For cancellations check waipafunrun.co.nz. Likewise this morning's Surf2Firth Bush Marathon from Hikuai down the Kauearanga Valley to Thames is still going ahead, although organisers said they would make a call overnight whether to keep going with it or not. For details go to surf2firth.co.nz.
Ebbett Holden were due to hold a fundraiser for the Bruce Tronell Motorsport for Life Trust to support the Child Cancer Foundation. It may be held today, from 10am to 2pm at Ebbett Holden on Alexandra St.
You can keep up to date by visiting facebook.com/WaikatoCivilDefence or waikatoregioncdemg.govt.nz, or following @civildefencewkt on Twitter.
- Waikato Times
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