New Zealand: Thousands of people without power due to the storm

Following Cyclone Gabrielle’s reclassification as a storm, high winds and heavy rain continue to batter the North Island on Monday 13 February, preventing air traffic from resuming.

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 2/13/2023 at 8:06 AM, updated 2/13/2023 at 8:43 AM

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A house destroyed by the storm in Titirangi, a suburb of the western region of Auckland in New Zealand, February 13, 2023. Diego OPATOWSKI / AFP

Thousands of New Zealand homes are without power and flights grounded Monday February 13 as a tropical storm batters the north of the country.

Emergency Management Secretary Kieran McAnulty warned it would be a “critical day” due to the “very dangerous” combination of high winds and heavy rain. A state of emergency has been declared in five regions in the north of the archipelago, including Auckland. Although the storm has weakened from its previous cyclonic status, it has already uprooted trees, damaged roads and downed power lines.

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network blocked

Around 58,000 people are without power in the North Island and officials warn it could take several days for the power grid to be restored. “As long as weather conditions remain this severe, it will be dangerous” to work on the network, Kieran McAnulty said.

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Auckland, the country’s largest city (population 1.6 million), is barely recovering from flash floods that killed four people and displaced thousands from their homes last month. Wind gusts of up to 140 km/h swept across northern New Zealand, while the Auckland Harbor Bridge was rocked by gusts of up to 110 km/h.

Kieran McAnulty said the government is considering declaring a national emergency for only the third time in the country’s history “but we may not have to.”

509 canceled flights

The weather has also disrupted New Zealand’s transport network, with flights, trains and bus schedules severely impacted.

Air New Zealand said it had canceled 509 flights so far, but services are expected to resume as normal on Tuesday. The airline said 10,000 international customers were affected by these cancellations and that flights for 6,500 of them would not be replaced.

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