Via The Guardian: Cyclone Cook: rain-soaked New Zealand braces for 'worst storm in decades'. Excerpt and then a comment:
Cyclone Cook is bearing down on New Zealand and is expected to make landfall on Thursday evening, heading directly for the flood-stricken Bay of Plenty region devastated by last week’s Cyclone Debbie.
Two states of emergency have been declared in the North Island east coast districts of Bay of Plenty and Thames-Coromandel, with more districts expected to make that call mid-afternoon when the ferocity of the storm becomes clear.
MetService – whose website crashed on Thursday because of heavy traffic – has warned the approaching storm system is expected to be the worst New Zealand has seen in decades, with forecasters comparing it to 1968’s Cyclone Giselle, which sunk the Wahine ferry, killing 52 people.
MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray said she was concerned New Zealanders weren’t taking the storm threat seriously enough and the approaching cyclone was the worst weather event she had seen in her 12 years as a forecaster.
“This is not an event to be taken lightly. Prepare for loss of power and isolation due to road closures,” she said in a video shared by thousands on social media.
Heavy downpours, gale force winds of 150 kph and storm surges up to five metres are predicted to batter the east coast, where the town of Edgecumbe remains under-water, its 2,000 residents staying with extended family and in maraes and evacuation centres, unable to return to their flooded homes.
Evacuations of low-lying areas on the east coast of the North Island are under way, with power outages, fallen trees and roofs lifting off homes possible, according to the MetService, as well as widespread and “significant” flooding across the entire North Island.
For updates, check Radio New Zealand.