WELLINGTON (Xinhua): Residents of New Zealand's largest city Auckland have been told to get prepared for another round of significant rains this weekend after the city was severely battered by extreme rainstorms less than two weeks ago.
The Auckland Emergency Management is working closely with the weather forecast agency MetService, the Mayor's Office, Auckland Council, and partner agencies to ensure the region is as prepared as possible for any potential impacts caused by Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle.
"We strongly encourage our communities to use the next few days to get ready for what could be another significant weather event for the region," said Auckland Emergency Management's Deputy Controller Rachel Kelleher at a press conference on Thursday (Feb 9).
According to MetService, the Auckland region can expect to feel the first effects of Cyclone Gabrielle from Sunday night, with the most severe weather impacts expected on Monday and Tuesday.
This weather system is expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain, and very large waves to parts of the North Island.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said the direct path of Cyclone Gabrielle is uncertain at this stage, and "while we are hoping for the best, we must all be prepared for the worst".
The Auckland City Council's Waste Solutions team is working at pace alongside the New Zealand Defense Force to clear drains, berms, and rubbish, to prevent flooding and potential public health risks, Brown said, calling on Aucklanders to do their bit to ensure curbs and drains are as clear as possible.
Aucklanders have been told to have enough supplies to sustain themselves for up to three days, as well as enough prescribed medication to get through next week.
The Auckland Emergency Management is working to set up an increased number of sites across the region for people to take shelter if they need to evacuate when the severe weather hits.
The last round of record rainfall has caused massive flooding to houses and properties since Jan 27, claiming four people's lives and forcing the closure of state highways and the Auckland Airport, with the state of emergency declared by the government.
More than 769 per cent of its rainfall in a normal January was recorded, which was about more than a third of Auckland's entire annual average.
With the maximum amount of water vapor in the air increasing exponentially with temperature, the potential for extreme rainfalls grows as the climate warms, New Zealand scientists warned.