Auckland's coastal communities are bracing themselves against
potentially dangerous storm surges, as battering winds and
lashing rain are expected to hit much of upper New Zealand
Cyclone Lusi is expected to make its way down northern parts
of the country today, tracking southwest off the coast, and
bringing with it high swells and 120km/h winds.
Its presence was already starting to be felt last night, as
thick clouds darkened skies and rain began to fall in
northern areas. MetService issued weather warnings, including
one for gale-force winds in Auckland.
The region's eastern and northeast beach residents have been
warned they could be worst hit by the storm, with high levels
of erosion and potential damage to beachfront properties
possible, particularly at high tide around 7.29am and 7.56pm,
Auckland Council said.
Civil Defence warned people to avoid beaches between the
hours of 2pm and 10pm, prepare for power cuts and avoid
unnecessary travel - naming Omaha, Snells Beach, Algies Bay,
Waiwera, Hatfields Beach, Orewa and Red Beach as "high risk".
Omaha resident Bridget Allen said locals had "battened down
the hatches" in preparation of the storm, securing outdoor
furniture and bringing in emergency supplies in case of a
The sea was already "very rough" last night, she said, and
her family planned to spend today indoors as advised.
Of moderate risk were Stanmore Bay, Big Manly, Tindalls
Beach, Matakatia Bay, Arkles Bay, Long Bay, Waiake, Browns
Bay, Murrays/Mairangi Bay, Campbells Bay, Castor Bay, Milford
Beach, Takapuna Beach, Cheltenham, Narrow Neck and Claris.
Two-metre swells are expected near beaches north of
Whangaparoa, while out to sea swells could reach up to 7-8m
in the Far North. Swells of around 4-6m could push in towards
Coromandel and western parts of Bay of Plenty later today.
The Waitakere and Hunua ranges are expected to be lashed with
the heaviest, which would have the potential to cause slips,
Civil Defence said.
Emergency services, councils and Civil Defence are bracing
themselves for a hectic weekend, bringing in extra staff,
pooling resources and developing response plans.
The Fire Service yesterday sent extra firefighters and
equipment to Northland from Takapuna station ahead of the
approaching storm, in order to be in place for any potential
damage from gale-force winds and rain.
Housing New Zealand also said it would make extra staff
available over the weekend, with maintenance contractors
ready to deal with any urgent repairs.
However, residents in at-risk coastal areas have been told
it's a case of "neighbour helping neighbour" to ensure
The brunt of Cyclone Lusi's force is expected to strike the
North Island throughout today, before gradually weakening as
it moves into the South Island tomorrow.
The storm should be clear of New Zealand by Monday, with only
a few showers and brisk winds remaining in the south and
Canterbury is bracing itself for more flooding, with the
Christchurch City Council saying it is preparing for the
worst case scenario following recent damaging floods in the
Around 22,000 sandbags will be filled and ready for
collection in various locations across the city by noon
today, with all emergency response teams on stand-by.
Meanwhile, farmers are welcoming the expected onslaught of
rain for their parched land, particularly the west coast of
the North Island, Waikato, Auckland and Hauraki Coromandel.
"I know there'll be a fair number of farmers in Waikato and
Northland who'll dance a jig at the first drops of rain,"
said Katie Milne, Federated Farmers adverse events
"Some on the North Island's west coast haven't seen decent
rain since last November."
However, she warned farmers to be prepared for the storm
conditions in advance.
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ