Cyclone Pam reaches New Zealand
New Zealand is braced for a stormy night at its northern and eastern extremities as Cyclone Pam passes by with reduced fury.
Powerco, New Zealand’s second-largest power company, has fixed some outages on the Coromandel peninsula and schools are already saying they won’t be open tomorrow.
The official death toll stands at six people, although the United Nations says there are unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in just one Vanuatu province.
Dozens of people are feared dead after Cyclone Pam slammed into Vanuatu on Friday and a state of emergency has been declared.
In New Zealand, the fire service has moved crews to coastal areas expected to be affected by the now category four storm and at 8pm today they had nothing to report.
Southeast winds have built off the east coast of Northland and Auckland, MetService said.
Winds in Hauraki Gulf are gusting 110km/h and in Kaeo they’re nudging 117km/h.
The north-east coast of Auckland and the Great Barrier Island will be hit by severe weather this evening, Auckland Council civil defence controller Clive Manley says.
“Areas north of Whangaparaoa and Great Barrier have a good chance of river and stream flooding, strong winds, large swells, waves and coastal erosion,” he said.
An Eagles concert in Auckland today is being held early at 6pm and organisers of other events shut them down early.
Horses already in Napier for next week’s Horse of the Year Show are being moved to safety and competitors are being urged to delay travel to the nation’s largest equestrian event.
Some people are self-evacuating in the Gisborne area, media report.
Weatherwatch.co.nz says the eye of the storm is going to track far enough east to avoid causing major damage to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
“The main concern is still for East Cape, eastern Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and northern Hawke’s Bay which likely to be walloped by potentially destructive winds on Monday,” the forecaster said.
“The advice that I have is that this is not of the strength that has hit Vanuatu,” Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye told Q+A today.
“But it’s going to be a severe storm and people need to be prepared for that,” she said.
Cyclone Pam is expected to be 420km north of East Cape at about midnight.
“A high sea warning with hurricane force wind is in force with this system, which also brings torrential rain, unusually heavy swells and very large waves,” MetService said.
Courtesy of 3 News