Updates on Cyclone Pam's path over New Zealand

LIVE UPDATES:

9.58AM: Auckland and Northland are through the worst of Cyclone Pam with 2000 people out of power overnight and trees toppled in Northland, while the category three cyclone surges towards Gisborne.

Auckland Civil Defence controller Clive Manley says most of the power outages have been fixed and "only a handful" of households remained without electricity.

Upcoming: Boxing community reeling after Braydon Smith bout

He said the impact was "not as severe" as previously thought, with waves half the expected height and less rainfall.

Mr Manley said Pam was "still a powerful cyclone" however, and is expected to hit Gisborne hard this afternoon.

Australia: Cyclone Nathan to reach Category 3 then head for Australian coast

A spokeswoman from Auckland Airport said some flights had been delayed and reshceduled this morning, including an Air New Zealand flight to Vanuatu's capital Port Vila.

All ferry services were cancelled from Gulf Harbour this morning, as well as a 6.15am sailing from Half Moon Bay.

Read more:
• Dozens feared dead after Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu

9.41AM: Northland appears to have had a lucky escape from Cyclone Pam with only a few fallen trees and power outages reported.

Tony Phipps, group controller for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said this morning there were no reports of serious damage or injury linked to the cyclone.

Mr Phipps said Northland Regional Council figures showed the highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning had been 67.5mm at Glenbervie, while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday had been 118.5km/h.

"Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm-related incidents, although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as-yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland's east coast overnight."

Fire service area commander for Whangarei and Kaipara Mike Lister said five minor calls were received last night, mainly to report trees down on roads.

A taskforce of firefighters arrived from Auckland last night to keep tabs on Cyclone Pam however Mr Lister said he believed they did not attend any incidents.

"Our team of volunteers would have gone to the calls so the Auckland crew were on stand by. We were very, very lucky," he said.

About 50 customers in the Waiotemarama Gorge area in South Hokianga have been without power since about 11pm last night. Top Energy spokesman Peter Heath said most faults were caused by trees in or across lines and said the outage was expected to end at 1pm today.

Mr Phipps said given the devastation Cyclone Pam had caused in the Pacific, Northland -- which often bears the initial brunt of tropical cyclones that reach New Zealand -- had been fortunate it had eased as predicted as it drew closer.

"Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam's effects a bit more severely."

9.35AM:


9.25AM:


9.00AM:

8.50AM: Volunteer Service Abroad said it could still not account for four Kiwi volunteers in Vanuatu.

Speaking to TV3's Firstline this morning, VSA spokesman Junior Ulu said the agency ensured that prior to Cyclone Pam hitting, its volunteers were in secure accommodation.

"We have our processes and procedures in place to make sure they're safe, and solid structures, extra food, and we were in communications with them right up until the time that the cyclone hit.

"We have been able to contact volunteers in Port Vila, and also in Luganville and Santo - but because communications are down it's been harder to connect with the volunteers that are in the outer islands."

Mr Ulu said they had worked with MFAT and other NGOs that were moving into the space, to find out how they can help "connect" and "communicate".

"Last communications we had with them was that they were bunkering down and making sure they were safe."

The destruction in Mele Village:


8.45AM: Vector said shortly after 8am that the Waiheke outage had been restored.

"This means there are no customers affected following ex Tropical Cyclone Pam's track through the region," a spokeswoman said.

8.42AM: Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye told TV3's Firstline that New Zealanders in areas expected to be worst hit should remain "vigilant".

"My main message to people particularly in Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, is we've still go it going past us. Be vigilant, be careful, be sensible in terms of what you are doing.

"There are still reports that we could receive pretty high winds, those swells are a bit worrying."

She said a close eye was being kept on the Chatham Islands, and three Civil defence staff had been deployed from Canterbury this morning.

"New Zealanders should remain particularly in those affected areas."

8.35AM:

8.15AM: Aid began arriving in Vanuatu as the tiny Pacific nation struggled to uncover the devastation wrought by what relief workers warned could be of the worst storms to ever hit the region.

Communications were still down across most of the archipelago's 80 islands, although the airport in Port Vila reopened with limited facilities to allow in much-needed aid.

Two Australian airforce planes landed with food, shelter and medicine while a New Zealand military aircraft also arrived loaded with eight tonnes of tarpaulins, water containers, chainsaw packs and generators.

"This is likely to be one of the worst disasters ever seen in the Pacific, the scale of humanitarian need will be enormous... entire communities have been blown away," said Oxfam's Vanuatu director Colin Collet van Rooyen.

Vanuatu Red Cross president Hannington Alatoa said: "Effectively the whole country... is flattened."

Despite the problems, relief began to trickle in to Vanuatu, a day after President Lonsdale made an emotional call for international aid.

World leaders, including Australia, Britain, New Zealand and the European Union, pledged relief as workers on the ground warned the death toll could rise because of poor food and water supplies.

Where to make a donation:
• New Zealand Red Cross
• Unicef New Zealand
• Rotary New Zealand
• World Vision
• Tear Fund
• Save the Children
• Oxfam New Zealand.

8.00AM: Vector has advised that all overnight power outages in the Auckland region have been restored. However, vegetation has struck lines on Waiheke Island resulting in an outage near Oneroa affecting about 600 customers.

Vector had crews stationed on the island when preparing for Cyclone Pam so are already working on this outage.

Winds are expected to remain strong until the middle of the day and people are urged to treat all lines as live.

7.50AM: The Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Group emergency coordination centre was activated at 5am, to support the response to Cyclone Pam across the region.

Civil Defence said early reports indicated no significant damage overnight but there was a localised power outage at Waihau Bay.

Maraenui, Omaio, Te Whanau Apanui Area School, Ruakokiri, Cape Runway and Kutarere schools in the East Cape would be closed today as a precaution.

"We continue to monitor the situation as the winds are expected to develop this morning east of Whakatane."

Regular updates would be provided on the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management's website and on www.facebook.com/BOPCivilDefence.


7.46AM: Weatherwatch head analyst Philip Duncan said "the storm was powerful yesterday and remains dangerous and powerful today" as it begins to close in on East Cape.

"As we head through Monday morning the gales are likely to increase around the north eastern North Island -- with damaging gusts likely for some areas."

The cyclone's centre was just north of East Cape and as the day progressed it would track in closer to Gisborne, he said.

Mr Duncan said although Pam had been downgraded to an ex-tropical cyclone, the winds and rain around it remained "severe and powerful".

Mr Duncan said latest models showed there was a "little more distance between Gisborne and the centre of the storm".

Although this would not make much difference to rough weather forecast for the north eastern corner of the North Island, it would limit how far west into the North Island the storm reached, Mr Duncan said.

7.45AM:

Monday morning adventures #cyclonepam #autumntime #happyday

A photo posted by leanne31 (@leanne31) on


7.42AM:

 

The aftermath on the coast. Cyclone Pam continuing to smash the East Coast of NZ - stay safe!

A photo posted by George Turner (@exploringnz) on

7.30AM:


7.26AM: Northland appears to have escaped the aftermath of Cyclone Pam largely unscathed.

Tony Phipps, group controller for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, said as of 7.15am today officials had no reports of serious damage or injury.

Mr Phipps said Northland Regional Council figures showed the highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning had been 67.5mm at Glenbervie, just east of Whangarei, while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday had been 118.5km/h.

"Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm-related incidents, although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as-yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland's east coast overnight."

Mr Phipps said given the devastation and misery Pam had caused in the Pacific, Northland -- which often bears the initial brunt of tropical cyclones that reach New Zealand -- had been fortunate it had eased as predicted as it drew closer.

"Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam's effects a bit more severely."


7.23AM: Gisborne Civil Defence spokesman Richard Steele said Gisborne had experienced heavy rain throughout most of the night but "very little" wind.

"It's raining quite heavily in town and we are expecting the seas to start rising mid to late morning, which is our main area or concern. There is no flooding or road closures at this stage."

Mr Steele said they have pre-deployed resources up the coast, in case they are needed.

"Everybody in 'at risk' areas have been warned."

Some people in the coastal township of Anaura Bay, just north of Tolaga Bay, have already self evacuated, Mr Steele said.

The area was likely to be "inundated" by the storm, he said.

Some schools in the Gisborne area would be closed today as a precaution, he said.

6.57AM: Speaking to TV3's Firstline this morning, MetService meteorologist John Law said although the storm had been re-classified, it was still an "incredibly intense system".

"It's not far away and we are still going to find some strong winds, heavy rainfall and those large swells around the northern and eastern coast."

He said this would not only effect the North Island, but also the Chatham Islands, where winds would pick up through Monday and Tuesday.

6.49AM: In Auckland 81 households still remained without power after the region was battered by strong winds last night.

Vector said while the Auckland region experienced "gusty winds and some heavy bursts of rain" the number of customers affected was low.

It said there were a total of 81 customers without power in Takatu.

Power had been restored to Kumeu and Riverhead after many were without power throughout the night.

Vector said crews had worked overnight to ensure sites were safe and would continue working on outages this morning, however winds were expected to remain high until around midday.

 



Calliope man Ben Wriede wins Botanic to Bridge by 18 seconds

Calliope man Ben Wriede wins Botanic to Bridge by 18 seconds

Open Male and Female 8km winners cross the line with time to spare.

PAY FREEZE: Council's second offer after workers reject plan

PAY FREEZE: Council's second offer after workers reject plan

Council has been challenged to address years of wage freezes

Local Partners