Cyclone Gabriel batters northern New Zealand with strong winds and rain

Cyclone Gabriel batters northern New Zealand with strong winds and rain

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About 58,000 homes in New Zealand’s Upper North Island were without power on Monday as the approach of Cyclone Gabriel brought strong winds, heavy rain and massive flooding to Auckland and surrounding areas.

Gabriel crossed the Australian territory of Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea on Saturday night, although its most destructive winds missed the island.

It is now located just north of New Zealand, with weather forecasters expecting rain and winds to intensify as it nears land during Monday and Tuesday.

“The impact of Gabriel is still in its early stages and severe and severe weather is still expected for Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland),” said Rachel Kelleher, deputy controller of Auckland Emergency Management, on Monday.

“Now is not the time for complacency,” she said.

Many schools and local government facilities have closed in Auckland and the upper North Island and people are being told not to travel if possible. A state of emergency is in force in Auckland and at least four other regions.

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