Rain Falls in Tauranga as Cyclone Cook Nears

Disaster authorities asked people to avoid hardest-hit towns and reconsider their travels over the four-day Easter weekend.

Due to the significant nature of this weather event and the likely disruption to the national roading network, Air NZ will not provide road transport options today for passengers whose travel is disrupted.

In addition to the Bay of Plenty, another 13 schools and 16 early learning centres on Great Barrier Island, Waiheke and in the Franklin area, and a further 24 schools and 33 ECEs in Thames and Coromandel have also been contacted and advised to close on Thursday.

The tail-end of another powerful cyclone, Debbie had already slammed the country last week, wreaking havoc and leaving the town Edgecumbe flooded by thigh-high water with many people still unable to return to their homes.

"We're anxious", Tony Bonne, the mayor of Whakatane district, one of the areas expected to bear the brunt of the storm, said on local radio.

Cyclone Cook is being regarded as the worst storm New Zealand has seen in generations.

"Contractors are on standby and we've checked in with emergency services, utilities companies and lifelines providers". Drive slowly, especially in areas prone to slips or flooding and in the dark. Remember, never drive through floodwaters or attempt to drive over slips.

If you get stuck in a flood, get out of your vehicle 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 you're planning to go mountain biking, tramping or walking in any regional parks - check conditions and weather forecasts before you go and make sure you're well prepared for the conditions.

Report blocked drains, flooding and trees down on public land to the council on 09 301 0101.

  • Leroy Wright