Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz has declared a local state of emergency at 9.45am as Cyclone Gabrielle edges towards Tairāwhiti.
“A state of emergency enables Civil Defence to coordinate a regional response across all emergency partners.
“We ask the community to keep up to date and to call Civil Defence on 0800 653 800 if you require any assistance. Call 111 if your life or safety is at risk.”
Rain is expected to increase in intensity throughout today with between 300-400mm inland north of Tolaga Bay and 100-150mm over Gisborne.
Tairāwhiti Civil Defence Group Controller Ben Green says it’s the combination of the high-intensity rain, gale force winds, 5-7m waves and storm surge that has led the MetService to describe Cyclone Gabrielle as having a very high risk of extreme impactful and unprecedented weather across out region.
“River levels are being watched closely in our district with levels expected to peak around 2-4am.
“Because this is in the middle of the night we are advising those who live in at-risk areas to have a plan to self-evacuate before it gets dark if the levels continue to rise.”
Mr Green says evacuation centres are resourced in the city and up the coast.
“They will be activated when required.”
All heavy traffic has been taken off the unsealed roading network from 6pm last night.
There have been sandbags and ramps placed around areas in the city prone to surface flooding.
Mr Green says the region has been getting prepared for the past three days and is ready.
“We ask people to check on any whānau or neighbours who may be vulnerable, the majority of schools around the region have closed and all community links have been activated around the region.
"Hubs around the coast are staffed with people from Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency NZ, St John and Police.”
Gisborne District Council has closed all community facilities from noon today.
- all sports parks
- walking tracks with known slips are closed
- waste transfer stations in the city and around the district
- no rubbish or kerbside collection
- HB Williams Memorial Library, Olympic Pool and theatres.
Properties in the city and up the Coast identified as being at risk are being monitored closely today.
Mr Green says the NZ Defence Force and other national agencies are here to provide regional assistance.
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 Waka Kotahi’s website.
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