Cyclone Gabrielle: How To Prepare

Feb. 10, 2023, 2:53 p.m.


The latest MetService predicts Cyclone Gabrielle will cause monster waves up to 7 metres or more and severe gales. Damage caused by the gusts may be widespread, across Te Ika a Māui, and could down trees, damage buildings and cause power cuts. 

Deputy Mayor Kelly Stratford who also chairs the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group spoke to Tautīnei;

"This weather pattern is slow moving, we have some time to make preparations at our homes and businesses, and check on our elderly and vulnerable to ensure they are aware. Ensure you have a "go bag" with your medicines some supplies, ensure you have enough food and water in case you are cut off for 3 days, and plan for your power to be out for an uncertain amount of time - how will you prepare food or that much-needed coffee? How are you going to listen to updates if your power and comms go out?".

MetService warns of storm surges from 0.4 to 0.5 metres and dangerous coastal inundation, particularly from Northland to Bay of Plenty and the East Coast of the North Island. Their update given 22 hours ago stated;

MetService New Zealand have issued a Heavy Rain and Strong Wind Watch for Northland, as part of the weather associated with Cyclone Gabrielle.  The watch will be in place from 1am Sunday, 12 Feb to midnight Tuesday, 14 Feb.

At this stage it is still a watch but as there is still quite a bit of uncertainty regarding the timing and movement of Cyclone Gabrielle, it is likely these watches for heavy rain and strong winds will be upgraded in the coming days.

We are encouraging everyone to stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecasts, as the impacts and areas affected may change closer to the time.

More detail can be found in the post below and please keep up-to-date with Warnings and Watches for Northland at:

We’re also encouraging everyone to take some time over the coming days to check that they’re prepared for any severe weather that may arrive. Head to for key tips and advice.

As always we’ll continue to keep a close eye on this one and we’ll post any key updates here on our Facebook page.”

Whānau are urged to take preparations seriously. Civil Defence Northland are constantly updating their alert system, social media pages and their website, which should be checked on regularly.


Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Takoto are taking a proactive approach and urging their staff  to fill their water storage facilities, organise kai, utilise their Manaaki team, and stock up on torches and powerbanks. They are preparing their office staff to complete all in-office administrative tasks today to support them to remain at home. Emails began being sent out yesterday to ensure everyone was well prepared and could have a heads up of what to expect.

“We have learnt from the last storm, and other significant events what is required now to help our staff and our people better prepare for such events. Safety and well-being is paramount and so we urge our whānau to make use of the resources available across many organisations. To always check for new weather updates, to prohibit all unnecessary travel, to stock up on kai, to check on eachother and to ensure your torches, candles and water supplies are filled” said Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Takoto, Craig Wells.

Acting director for the National Emergency Management Agency, Roger Ball, said research showed people are most motivated to get prepared when faced with an emergency themselves.

“We need to face facts - disasters like the Auckland floods are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of climate change.

“But the good news is that being prepared is easier than you think – and can get started with a conversation,” he said.

Steps to begin taking now, prior to Cyclone Gabrielle’s arrival:

  • Prepare your property for high winds. Strong winds can lift large, heavy objects and send them crashing into homes. Anything not secured may become a projectile.

  • Regularly inspect and trim trees and shrubbery. Strong winds frequently break weak tree limbs and throw them at great speed. They can cause damage and injury.

  • Review your insurance regularly. Having insurance cover for your home and contents is important to help you get back on your feet if you suffer damage in a disaster.

  • Keep up to date with MetService weather forecasts.

  • Work out what supplies you might need and make a plan. Have materials and tools ready to repair windows, such as tarpaulins, boards and duct tape.

  • Identify a safe place in your home to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be a place where there are no windows, skylights, or glass doors. These could break in strong winds or hail and cause damage or injury.

  • Know which paddocks are safe if you have livestock. To prevent risks from lightning, move livestock away from:

  • floodwaters

  • Landslides-

  • power lines, and

  • isolated trees

Be aware that storms can trigger floods and landslides and make sure you know how to respond.

Peter-Lucas Jones spoke to Te Hiku Radio about how whānau could prepare in the event of a severe storm;

“Stay home, check on loved ones and avoid non-essential travel if possible. Stock up on your medicines from the chemist and kai. Always stay updated on the latest weather updates to ensure you know what to expect”.

Waipuna aa Rangi also provide whānau with manaaki during severe storm events. Visit this link to learn more. You will also find links to relevant safety social media pages, contact details and safety tips.

"Watch the Metservice updates, share what YOU do to personally have your household and whanau prepared. Mention the declaration for Auckland, reassure people that you are well supported by the National Emergency Management Agency" said Stratford.

Emergency management agencies will continue to emphasise the need for the public to be prepared with three days worth of food, water and supplies in case of future flooding events.


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