Cyclone Cook prompts early Easter exodus

Cyclone Cook is expected to skirt the south eastern coastal areas of Beachlands, Maraetai, Clevedon and Hunua. Above is a shot of Hunua Falls following last month’s storm. Times photo Wayne Martin

Cyclone Cook is skirting the eastern side of the Auckland region, likely bringing brief heavy rain and wind to Waiheke, Great Barrier Island and the south eastern coastal areas of Beachlands, Maraetai, Clevedon and Hunua.

MetService’s forecast track map shows the cyclone to the east of Auckland and heading for the Bay of Plenty and Thames-Coromandel.

All Aucklanders need to think carefully about their travel plans and only travel if needed in these affected areas. Give particular consideration when leaving Auckland to areas likely to be severely impacted by the weather as it tracks down the country.

Auckland Civil Defence head of emergency management operations Aaron Davis says: “Don’t take chances with the weather and consider delaying travel if you’re planning to head out today. Keep an eye on weather updates, road information and if you’re flying in or out of Auckland check with your airline for regular updates.

“If you’re staying in Auckland, have a plan to cope with the weather. You should know where you’re friends and family are, know where you would meet if you are separated and think about your personal safety at all times.”

The weather may briefly impact Auckland’s roads and services, with public transport potentially disrupted.  Follow @AklTransport and @NZTAAkl for the latest information. The Hunua area may have further disruptions.

“We’re seeing the rush hour starting already, as people are leaving early.  If you must drive, drive to the conditions.  If travelling on public transport there may be queues and everyone there are likely to be delays as the long weekend exodus takes place,” says Mr Davis.

“The impact of wind on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge is being monitored and is flowing right now but as more people travel, more delays are likely – we think it is less likely that the bridge will need to close.”

Great Barrier Island is experiencing heavy rain and flooding in some areas, and this is moving towards Waiheke. The Hunua Ranges area may experience surface flooding and high winds. Orere Point is currently isolated due to slips and Kawakawa Bay is likely to become isolated as the day progresses.

Things to remember:

  • If you have to drive, drive to the conditions. Remember, never drive through floodwaters or attempt to drive over slips. Drive slowly, especially in areas prone to slips or flooding and in the dark.
  • If you get stuck in a flood, get out of your car and move to higher ground immediately, taking great care in the floodwaters (there may be unseen debris or holes, currents may be strong and water contaminated).
  • If driving at night, drive slowly, especially through flood-prone areas as you may encounter flooding at short notice.
  • If you live in an area that may be isolated, make sure you’re prepared with food, torches etc and you’ve checked in with neighbours, friends and family.
  • If your property or suburb may be affected by slips or power outages, prepare for the possibility that your road access may be cut off and ensure you have food and provisions on hand in case of isolation.
  • Never attempt to drive over slips and treat power lines as live at all times.
  • If there is an immediate risk to life or property contact the emergency services on 111.
  • Report blocked drains, flooding and trees down on public land to the council on 09 301 0101.
  • Check on neighbours and family, especially if they are in at risk areas or might be affected by flooding or slips.