On Monday, around 58,000 houses in the upper North Island of New Zealand are without power due to the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle, which delivers severe winds, heavy rain, and large waves to Auckland and surrounding areas.
Saturday night, Gabrielle passed by the Australian territory of Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea, but its most devastating gusts missed the island.
It is located just north of New Zealand, and meteorologists predict that rain and gusts will intensify as it approaches to land on Monday and Tuesday.
"The impact of Gabrielle is still in its early stages, and further serious and severe weather is still expected for Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) later today into Tuesday morning," said Rachel Kelleher, Deputy Controller of Emergency Management for Auckland, on Monday.
She continued, "Now is not the time for complacency,"
Many schools and local government buildings are closed across Auckland and the upper North Island, and people are urged not to travel if possible. There are declared states of emergency in Auckland and at least four other regions.
Metservice reported that Whangarei, a city north of Auckland, had 100.5 mm (4 inches) of precipitation during the past 12 hours, while winds of 159 km per hour (100 miles per hour) were measured off the coast of Auckland.
The Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, stated that approximately 58,000 houses were without power and that it could take many days to restore power to some.
McAnulty noted, "There has been significant disruption to public transport with aircraft, ferries, buses and trains either suspended or operating on a reduced schedule,"
Air New Zealand announced in a statement that it would restart flight operations on Tuesday after cancelling 509 flights due to the cyclone. It is adding 11 additional domestic flights to its schedule to assist relief operations.
The New Zealand Defense Force has sent 150 personnel around Auckland and other regions to provide relief supplies to civil defence shelters and centres.
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.
McAnulty stated that the two major incidents were straining the emergency and recovery response infrastructure.
"A lot of people are feeling, I think, tired, stressed about what's going on," he remarked.