New Zealand: Cyclone Cook makes landfall

Civil authorities on Thursday advised people in low-lying areas on the North Island's Coromandel peninsula to evacuate to higher ground.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson said on Wednesday: "The focus at this stage is on pumping water from orchards to enable harvest to take place and to limit the long-term damage to the plants".

The storm was expected to move south overnight and reach the capital, Wellington, early on Friday, causing more problems along the way but also losing some of its punch.

Hundreds of people in New Zealand were ev.

New Zealand was bracing Thursday for a storm that meteorologists warned could be the worst for nearly 50 years, with extreme weather alerts that led to the evacuation of seaside areas and closed schools.

The storm - expected to bring torrential rain and winds gusting at up to 150km/h (93mph) - has been classified as an extra-tropical cyclone.

Thousands of people were evacuated from coastal areas ahead of the cyclone's approach, with schools and offices shutting early in the day.

"Further very heavy rain and high winds are forecast until Saturday 15 April 2017 for much of New Zealand".

The storm appeared this morning to be skirting the main city of Auckland, where authorities had earlier anxious it could cause major problems.

As residents in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty prepare to bear the brunt of Cyclone Cook, the region's kiwifruit growers and packers are watching on with cautious optimism.

A state of emergency has been declared in New Zealand as the country braces itself for Cyclone Cook.

Auckland looks set to avoid the worst of Cyclone Cook but some residents should still rethink their Easter travel plans, authorities say.

"We are now experiencing widespread outages across our network regions as the wild weather wreaks havoc on the network", power company Unison, which provides power to Hawke's Bay said on Thursday evening.

"It is still important for people thinking about heading south for Easter weekend to cancel or delay travel to the Waikato - including Coromandel - and Bay of Plenty regions", he said.

The storm came ashore in the Bay of Plenty, causing some damage to the area already hit by Cyclone Debbie last week - but it was hardly the potentially "unprecedented" impact that most expected.

  • Jon Douglas