Northland Civil Defence urges residents and visitors to be prepared for Cyclone Gabrielle

10 Feb 2023, 1:34 PM

MetService New Zealand today (Friday 10 February) has maintained Heavy Rain and Strong Wind Watches for Northland, as part of the weather associated with Cyclone Gabrielle. Currently the rain watch will be in place from 1am Sunday, 12 February to noon Tuesday, 14 February and a strong wind watch from noon Sunday to midnight Tuesday.

There is still quite a bit of uncertainty regarding the timing and movement of Cyclone Gabrielle, but MetService says it is likely these watches for heavy rain and strong winds will be upgraded in the coming days. At this stage, it is already predicting 200mm to 300mm of rain could fall over the course of the storm, along with severe gales.

Northland Civil Defence Controller Graeme MacDonald says with the forecast heavy rain coming on top of recent heavy rain, (including last week’s red warning which led to a State of Emergency declaration) streams and rivers may rise rapidly and cause disruption in flood-prone areas.

“Surface flooding, slips and flood water are likely to close roads and disrupt travel with flooding in low-lying areas possible. The high forecast winds may also mean we see a number of trees down which can cause power outages and further hazards on the road.”

MacDonald says as the event draws closer and the information around potential hazards for the region becomes clearer, the Northland Civil Defence team is keeping a close watch on the situation, including liaising with MetService and the Northland Regional Council’s hydrology team.

“This morning we also met with all three of Northland’s district councils, local emergency services and other key stakeholders and we are all preparing to respond if need be.”

“We are all working on increasing our resources and ensuring they are strategically placed around the region so we can respond effectively as required.”

MacDonald says Civil Defence is again asking Northlanders to take some time over the next day or two to check that they’re prepared for any severe weather that may arrive.

He says it was great to see how Northlanders rallied together and got prepared for last week’s red heavy rain warning and once again urged people to take the latest warnings seriously.

“Spending that little bit of time now preparing can make a big difference if this system does severely impact Northland.”

MacDonald says things are changing quickly with this weather system and urges people to keep up to date at:

Meanwhile, Jim Lyle, Regional Harbourmaster for the Northland Regional Council, has warned recreational vessels to avoid venturing out to sea from Sunday to Wednesday.

“All vessels at anchor should seek a sheltered position and prepare for heavy winds. If possible, seek a marina berth or secure berth alongside.” “Vessel owners should not leave their vessels unattended at anchor and should be prepared to run up the engines and motor against the wind if necessary to prevent dragging.”

Lyle says by tomorrow evening (Saturday 11 February) all mooring owners or users should check their mooring headline is secure, that anti chafe gear is in position, and the headline is not worn.

He too urged people to keep a close eye on weather warnings as they came to hand over the weekend.

Key preparations you can make:

  • Secure outdoor furniture and structures
  • Relocate items from any areas of your property that are prone to flooding
  • Relocate stock from flood-prone areas and bring pets inside
  • Have supplies including food and medications ready in case of any power outages or if you are isolated for a period
  • Have a grab bag and a plan in case you need to evacuate.

For more tips on preparing for severe weather check out:

MacDonald says if you feel you, your family and/or your property are at risk, immediately contact emergency services on 111.

He says Civil Defence will be keeping a close eye on the weather as it develops and will post any key updates on its Facebook page:

These updates can also be viewed on the Civil Defence section of the Northland Regional Council website:

Other useful links:

To check for road closures and delays on state highways: or follow Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency - Northland

For local roads check your local council’s Facebook pages:

For power outages check:

To check if your property may be in a flood-prone area or exposed to potential hazards check: