Flooded New Zealand braces for cyclone Gabrielle – Daily – Insurance News

New Zealanders – just recovering from record flooding in Auckland and surrounds – are being warned that tropical cyclone Gabrielle could strike on Sunday and be a widespread and significant event.

The cyclone is currently offshore central Queensland’s coast as a Category 3 system. It is moving southeast and forecast to track near or over Norfolk Island from tonight or Saturday morning as it moves roughly parallel to the coast.

A Tropical Cyclone Warning has been issued for Norfolk Island, where heavy rain, damaging to destructive winds and heavy surf and swell and a Category 2 impact are possible. The local hall will be used as an emergency evacuation centre.

From Sunday, Gabrielle is expected to bring significant severe weather to New Zealand. MetService says impacts are likely from Sunday starting in the north, and spreading to other parts of northern and central New Zealand early next week.

Winds will strengthen significantly over northern parts of the North Island during the weekend, and on Tuesday, southeast gales are forecast to extend to central New Zealand, and become severe, with heavy rain likely on Tuesday about central areas from Marlborough to eastern Wellington and Wairarapa.

“This could be a widespread and significant weather event for central and northern parts of New Zealand,” MetService said. “There is high confidence of severe gales for Northland, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula from Sunday through Tuesday.

“Also from Sunday through Tuesday, there is high confidence of significant heavy rainfall over Northland, Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, and Gisborne. This high extends to Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and easternmost Waikato on Monday and Tuesday.”

The warning comes in the wake of unprecedented flooding that began January 27 which IAG has warned could cost it $350 million, and Tower expects will trigger a reinsurance excess of around $11 million and a need to secure new catastrophe cover.

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) says residents should act now to protect property from extreme winds and rain, and “likely more slips and flooding” in the North Island.

“Get a grab bag ready in case you have to evacuate. Get valuable items and documents together,” it said. “Blocked gutters and drains can make flooding worse. Clean them out … Bring inside or secure anything that the wind could damage or pick up …. If you can, move furniture and other items above flood level. Move your vehicle to higher ground.”

ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton says insurers have brought in as many staff as possible, and demand for assessors, trades, materials and other goods is “already high”.

“Insurers will continue to work hard to settle claims and will prioritise those most in need,” he said.

Tower says the last two weeks have “been rough,” and preparing for Cyclone Gabrielle could help avoid the need to make a claim.

“We are currently working through more than 4800 claims from 3600 of our customers in Auckland, Northland and other parts of the North Island who are still recovering from flooding and landslides caused by recent heavy rain,” Tower Chief Claims Officer Steve Wilson said. “We are urging Kiwis to spend time now getting their homes ready.

“Like many people we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said today Cyclone Gabrielle has sustained winds near the centre of 130 km/h with wind gusts to 185 km/h, and is moving southeast at 46 km/h.

“The centre of the cyclone is likely to pass very close to Norfolk Island on Saturday evening. Galeforce winds and high waves are expected from overnight tonight.

“As the cyclone centre passes, destructive winds may ease for short period of time, due to the eye of the system, before it suddenly picks up again, blowing from the opposite direction.”

While no threat to mainland Australia, the Bureau says Gabrielle is likely to produce wind gusts of 224 km/h and cause hazardous coastal conditions for parts of Queensland and NSW.

Source link