MetService projection of Cyclone Gabrielle in the early hours of Tuesday.
MetService projection of Cyclone Gabrielle in the early hours of Tuesday.

SocietyFebruary 12, 2023

‘Do what you can. Right now.’ Latest advice on preparing for fast-approaching Cyclone Gabrielle

MetService projection of Cyclone Gabrielle in the early hours of Tuesday.
MetService projection of Cyclone Gabrielle in the early hours of Tuesday.

Auckland Emergency Management has just completed a briefing on what to do, who to call, and what to look out for as NZ’s biggest city braces for more severe weather. 

“You’ve still got time, Auckland. Please prepare yourself and your home and make a plan. There will be destruction from this cyclone, and we all must do what we can right now to stay safe.” That’s the message from deputy mayor Desley Simpson, introducing an Auckland Emergency Management briefing. 

With the worst of the weather expected to strike on Monday and Tuesday, Georgina Griffith of MetService warned: “Don’t be fooled – you may not be affected till Tuesday. And just remember, today? Today is the good day.” 

Forecasters have warned of floods, slips, gales, coastal surges, power outages and road closures, with the risk that some communities may be cut off. “We are looking down the barrel of a severe and potentially devastating weather event and you must take official advice seriously,” said AEM deputy controller Rachel Kelleher.

Twenty-four Civil Defence Centres and Shelter sites will be available in all Local Board areas across Tāmaki Makaurau from this evening. Locations are listed here. “If mass evacuation is required, further large-scale sites will be stood up quickly and we will continue to assess the need for these sites,” said Kelleher.

People in Auckland and other affected areas are advised to have grab-bag ready (clothing, medication, documents and ID, important items for children or babies) should they need to evacuate. Bring your pets if you have to go to a shelter site (dogs on a leash; cats in a container).


Important messages on preparing for the cyclone include the following: 

  • Schools and other education providers will “make their own decisions” about whether to stay open tomorrow. “Our advice is that you should plan for things to change if they need to.”
  • Auckland Emergency Management will issue an Emergency Mobile Alert today to mobile phones in the region. Those who need help are encouraged to call 0800 222200. If there is any risk of life, call 111.
  • Ensure you have supplies to last three days, but only buy what you need – panic buying helps nobody. Supermarkets will remain open, unless affected by flooding. 
  • Make sure you have alternative power supplies; lamps, torches and batteries; a radio; a camp stove or BBQ. Remember to keep phones charged and use a car charger (and radio) if you need to.
  • Those in affected areas are urged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, and not to drive or ride through floodwater.
  • If your property flooded recently, consider staying with friends or family tonight, or make a plan to evacuate if you see floodwaters rising.
  • Make sure you have supplies of prescription medication to get you through next week, contact your GP if you’re concerned about health issues, and if you rely on electricity for medical devices, stay in touch with your health provider and your electricity provider and arrange a back-up power supply or contingency plan. 
  • If your house has a red (“entry prohibited”) placard, you must stay away. If your house has a yellow “restricted access” placard, follow the restrictions given on the placard and seriously consider avoiding any entry for the duration of the event at least. There is the potential for new landslides to occur and for existing landslides to reactivate. 
  • If your house is next to a property that has a placard, if you see any signs of instability, or if you’re concerned about the stability of the land around your house, you’re advised to take extra caution and consider finding alternative accommodation during heavy rain.
  • If you are concerned about landslides (new cracking or movement of the ground, new cracks appearing inside the house, unusual sounds such as trees cracking, pavements sinking, or new debris on or around your house are a clue), consider finding alternative accommodation during heavy rain.
  • Sandbags continue to be restocked at pickup points around Auckland, but people are urged only to collect if necessary. 
  • You can help by checking and clearing gutters and channels around your property of obstructions such as leaves, tennis balls and what have you, as well as having a gander at drains on roadsides nearby and removing any obvious blockages such as chip packets or whatever. 
  • Tie down loose items outdoors, including furniture and trampolines, or bring them inside if possible.
  • Removal of flood-affected material from kerbsides has been halted. Please bring it out of exposed areas. The Council’s usual kerbside waste collection has been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday. Please keep their rubbish on properties until collection resumes.
  • Due to severe wind gusts, reduced speed limits are in place on the Harbour Bridge, and there is a possibility the Bridge may close.

How to prepare your household for Cyclone Gabrielle

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