Cyclone Cook: New Zealand set for worst storm in years

Violet Powell
April 14, 2017

Civil defence authorities on Thursday advised people in low-lying areas on the North Island's Coromandel peninsula to evacuate to higher ground.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson said on Wednesday: "The focus at this stage is on pumping water from orchards to enable harvest to take place and to limit the long-term damage to the plants".

Since the rainfall last week, grower body New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) has been identifying severely affected orchards near the township of Edgecumbe.

Flights across the country have been delayed or cancelled, while Air New Zealand has suspended all its flights from Tauranga Airport in the Bay of Plenty. Latest information at ^Lisa MetService (@MetService) April 13, 2017 "We're anxious", Tony Bonne, the mayor of Whakatane district, one of the areas expected to bear the brunt of the storm, said on local radio.

New Zealanders on Thursday were bracing for a second major storm in just over a week as the remnants of Cyclone Cook bore down on the South Pacific nation.

Cyclone Cook is skirting the eastern side of the Auckland region, likely bringing brief heavy rain and wind to Waiheke, Great Barrier Island and the south eastern coastal areas of Beachlands, Maraetai, Clevedon and Hunua.

Schools and businesses across the island have been shut early while residents in Auckland, which has seen flooding, have been stocking up on emergency supplies.

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Last week, another violent cyclone that struck Australia - Debbie - was also felt in some areas from New Zealand.

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.

Over the weekend the main low that was Cook will depart into the Southern Ocean while a small, weak, low (triggered by the remnants of Cook and the Tasman low) will move back up the West Coast and yet again towards the western North Island bringing cloud and further downpours on Sunday and early Monday for a time.

The path of the storm included the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty regions.

"We are watching very carefully, we're not through this yet", she said.

A local state of emergency has also been declared across the entire region.

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