New Zealand prepares for most intense tropical storm since the 1990s
New Zealand is bracing for its most intense tropical storm since the 1990s. Tropical Storm Gabrielle is heading towards the North Island just two weeks after the region suffered record flooding.
On January 27, 240 mm (9.44 inches) of rain fell on Auckland, the country’s largest city. That thing mark the most rainfall the city had ever seen in one day, and it was the equivalent of their entire summer’s rainfall.
Now, a new threat is set to bring fierce winds and devastating rains to Auckland and the North Island.
The New Zealand Met Service is forecasting that Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is likely to affect parts of northern New Zealand on Sunday and continue through Tuesday.
Lisa Murray, Head of Weather Communications at MetService, said: “Vulnerable areas after last week’s weather are expected to see lots of rain, strong winds, high waves and coastal flooding, which would result in heavy rain, strong winds, high waves and coastal flooding. will aggravate the situation. “If the storm continues on its current path north of Aotearoa New Zealand, we can expect this to be an extreme weather event with widespread damage.”
Gabrielle currently equates to a Category 1 storm with winds of 140 km/h (85 mph) as it moves across the Coral Sea, a few hundred kilometers off Australia’s Queensland coast. Although it will likely weaken slightly before making landfall, the mountainous terrain can rapidly increase wind speed and precipitation.
“This is the most intense tropical storm we’ve seen to threaten the northern part of New Zealand since the 1990s,” Philip Duncan, chief forecaster for New Zealand-based Weather Watch, told Reuters. CNN.
Although the storm could also lose its tropical features and become a post-tropical system, it is not expected to lose strength.
“We are expecting 100 to 300 mm [of rainfall] for many areas north and east of the North Island, with an even greater total if Gabrielle stops or slows down,” Duncan said. “This rain will cause more slips/slides, road closures, flight cancellations and possibly damage to more homes as we saw in January.”
A heavy rain warning has been issued for northern New Zealand starting Sunday as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle approaches with the risk of heavy rain and gusty winds.
Another heavy rain warning has also been issued for the Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne, where total rainfall of 200 mm to 400 mm or more is possible.
“Event duration and forecast rainfall are highly dependent on Hurricane Gabrielle’s path and this Meter may be upgraded to an Orange or possibly Red warning in the coming days,” said New York’s MetServices. Zealand warned.
Large wind clocks have also been issued for most of New Zealand’s North Island.
Winds are capable of blowing above 100 kph (62 mph) and can reach 150 kph (93 mph) in higher terrain and along the immediate coastline. Conditions are expected to begin to deteriorate on Sunday, and the worst storm will affect the country Monday through Tuesday, local time.
“Don’t forget a tornado brings destructive winds as well as heavy rain and big waves,” Murray said. “Once the ground is wet, trees are more prone to falling, which can cause power outages.”
Along with wind and rain, there will also be large waves along the coast in eastern regions and storm surge nearly half a meter high.
According to Duncan, Tropical Storm Gita impacted the South Island in 2018, which is rare because it moved so far south. However, that storm only affected about 100,000 to 150,000 people while Gabrielle posed a threat to about 2.5 million people. Duncan said the last major cyclone event to affect northern New Zealand was during the 1996-97 cyclone season with Hurricanes Fergus and Drena.