As Cyclone Gabrielle approaches the shore of New Zealand, residents of the country's largest city, Auckland, and the surrounding area are being warned to prepare for further severe rain, flooding, gale-force winds, and some properties are being evacuated.
Now 200 kilometres (125 miles) northeast of Auckland, Gabrielle is expected to approach the east coast in the next 24 hours.
Unfortunately, we anticipate that the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle will worsen before they improve, said Rachel Kelleher, Deputy Controller of Auckland Emergency Management, on Monday.
She continued, "It's not the time to be complacent,"
The cyclone is the second significant weather event to strike Auckland and the upper North Island in just a few weeks. Four people perished due to flooding caused by unprecedented rains that hit Auckland and nearby areas last month.
On Monday, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced an NZ$11.5 million ($7.25 million) package to assist community organizations such as food banks and flood-affected organizations.
On Monday, several schools and local government buildings in Auckland and the upper North Island were closed, and residents were urged to avoid travel if possible.
There are states of emergency in Auckland and at least six other regions. Approximately fifty flats have been evacuated in Auckland due to fears that a century-old steel-framed tower may collapse.
Additional evacuations have been ordered for seaside towns on the east coast in anticipation of a storm surge due Tuesday morning.
Forty-six thousand households are without electricity, cell service is spotty in certain regions, and trees and roofs have fallen.
Ferries, buses, and trains are suspended or operating on a modified schedule due to disruptions in public transportation.
Air New Zealand has cancelled 509 flights and said that flights would resume on Tuesday when weather conditions are expected to improve.
This morning, police said they were attempting to locate a passenger aboard a boat near Great Barrier Island after receiving reports the vessel was in difficulty.
"The Police Maritime Unit, with assistance from Eagle, have attempted to approach the boat throughout the morning. However, conditions have been challenging, and at this stage, no one has been located," according to a statement.
Overnight, Georgina Griffiths, a meteorologist with Metservice, predicted that Auckland and Great Barrier Island could experience heavy rain and winds.
Overnight, she predicts that areas of Auckland that have not yet seen harsh wind conditions will experience gales.
"Storm surge is still coming and might peak with the high tide at 2 am for eastern parts of Auckland."
She noted that localized land collapses and surface floods were to be anticipated, considering that Auckland was already saturated.