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NZers advised to brace themselves as Cyclone Lola brings wild weather

Benjamin Plummer,
Publish Date
Sun, 29 Oct 2023, 8:19AM

NZers advised to brace themselves as Cyclone Lola brings wild weather

Benjamin Plummer,
Publish Date
Sun, 29 Oct 2023, 8:19AM

Residents in the Coromandel have been advised to brace themselves as ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola brings wild weather to northern parts of the country.

A large, deep, complex low-pressure system is moving slowly towards northern New Zealand, bringing moisture and tropical air from the subtropics.

“It is going to be a fairly wet and windy-looking story as we head towards the end of Sunday and through to the start of next week for those northern parts of the country,” said MetService meteorologist John Law.

Severe weather watches and warnings

MetService has issued a raft of severe weather watches and warnings for northern parts of Aotearoa today.

The latest weather warning to be issued is for Gisborne. An orange heavy rain warning will come into effect for the region from 3am on Monday and will last through to 9pm that evening.

Northland, however, is first in line for the wild weather.

An orange strong wind warning came into effect for the region at 9am. Damaging gusts of up to 130km/h in exposed places are expected until 6am on Monday. An orange heavy rain warning also comes into affect from midday today through to 6am tomorrow.

Strong wind warnings are also in place for Auckland from Whangaparāoa northwards and Great Barrier Island from 6pm and the Coromandel Peninsula from 9pm until 11am tomorrow.

Tens of thousands of people are set to run in the Auckland Marathon today and a spokeswoman for organisers told the Herald on Sunday if Waka Kotahi NZTA had to close the harbour bridge because of high winds the whole race will take place on the city side of the bridge.

Participants would be directly contacted by race organisers, the spokeswoman said.

Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may also be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

MetService says thunderstorms are also possible for Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula as heavy rain may bring up to 150mm of rain, with peak rates expected to reach 15 to 25mm/h.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly, surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Auckland, Great Barrier Island and the Bay of Plenty north of Tauranga should also expect heavy rain tonight.

Auckland south of Whangaparāoa, the Kaimai Range and eastern Waikato can expect strong wind from tonight and as well as wind and rain, large waves are expected to affect the eastern coastline of the upper North Island.

“In northern areas large swells, strong onshore wind and king tides combine on Sunday and Monday, which could mean some sea inundation affecting coastal areas in the north and east of the North Island,” said MetService’s head of weather communication, Lisa Murray.

Eastern and northern coastlines are set to be pummelled by monster 6m waves.

The South Island can expect a mainly fine Sunday, apart from isolated showers in the far south.

Coromandel prepare for the worst

The Thames-Coromandel district looks to bear the brunt of the extreme weather, Civil Defence controller Garry Towler has warned, especially for those on the eastern side.

“It is the remnants of a cyclone, we have king tides, storm surge, heavy rain, gale force winds and ongoing land instability issues as a result of Gabrielle.”

Civil Defence has also urged Coromandel residents to “stock up on supplies, batteries and gas, check and clear drains in your neighbourhood”.

They have been told to tie down outdoor furniture and “review plans should you become isolated due to slips and flooding.

“Those living close to the sea need to prepare for wave surge by having a plan B and somewhere to go, especially if the surges increase during the main high tides: 8am and 8pm Sunday and 9am and 9pm Monday,” Civil Defence said.

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