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Rapidly evolving situation - Cyclone Gabrielle

Monday 13 February, 2023

Civil Defence says Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact on this district is rapidly evolving.

The MetService advises more rain overnight with 350-450mm expected north of Tolaga Bay and around 150mm for Gisborne and south of Tolaga Bay.

The rainfall comes with gale-force winds up to 130kmh and waves of around 6-8m with a strong coastal surge.

Residents in the Hikuwai (Tolaga Bay) and Te Arai river (Manutuke) areas have been advised to self-evacuate with Police and Fire and Emergency personnel there to assist.

Onepoto residents at Wharekahika (Hicks Bay) have also been asked to evacuate.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Group Controller Ben Green says the peak of Cyclone Gabrielle is expected around midnight tonight.

“Please stay off the roads, no rubbernecking and police will send you home if you are.

“We have people evacuating so please delay travel if you can. We have reports of trees being brought down by the high winds.

“Waka Kotahi has closed SH35 due to surface flooding between Te Puia Springs and Ruatoria.

“They will close the rest of SH35 by 7pm tonight at Okitu through to Lottin Point. Keep an eye on Waka Kotahi’s website for up-to-date road closures.

“Please hunker down, people in low-lying areas are self-evacuating to stay with whanau and friends and welfare centres are ready to be activated from 6pm tonight.”

Evacuation centres in town are:

  • Ilminster Intermediate on De Lautour Road
  • House of Breakthrough on the corner of Lytton Road and Ormond Road

Evacuation centres up the coast will be posted on the Facebook pages of Council and Tairāwhiti Civil Defence.

Mr Green says the rain is increasing and river levels will get to critical levels faster than indicated.

“We have real concerns for people living in low-lying areas.

“We also advise people to please move any waka or boats away from the river’s edge. Horouta and Mareikura Waka ama groups have moved their club waka however privately owned ones still remain and should be moved if possible.”

The Ministry of Education encourages parents and caregivers to check the school’s Facebook pages for whether they will open tomorrow.

Some scours have been opened to reduce the impact on our wastewater system which is running at more than five times the normal flows.

Report any power outages to Eastland Network on 0800 206 207.

There is surface flooding around Ruatoria up SH35 already with advice to keep up to date on

Flooding problems on your property? | Gisborne District Council (gdc.govt.nz)

Please keep an eye on Council's website and the Facebook

To report anything, contact Council on 0800 653 800, use the GDC FIX app on any smartphone, email [email protected] or use the eFix service on Council’s website.

Useful links:

Keep up to date with MetService weather https://www.metservice.com/town.../locations/gisborne/7-days

Subscribe to civil defence text alerts https://www.gdc.govt.nz/.../subscribe-to-flood-warning...

River level forecast https://www.gdc.govt.nz/.../maps-and.../river-level-forecast

Rainfall data https://www.gdc.govt.nz/environment/maps-and-data/rainfall-data

National media filmed the debris and water on Wigan Bridge on Tauwhareparae Road.

Wigan Bridge