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 Gabrielle: Schools to close, flights canceled as New Zealand braces for cyclone
February 12, 2023

Gabrielle: Schools to close, flights canceled as New Zealand braces for cyclone

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Schools across Auckland will close from Monday as New Zealand’s largest city braces for the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle, CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand reported Sunday.

Over 36 schools and universities will shut their doors despite no formal order from the Ministry of Education, RNZ said, while the InterCity bus network will also reduce its services.

Meanwhile, with Gabrielle closing in, Air New Zealand said it was canceling multiple long-haul international fights on Monday, as well as Tasman and Pacific Island flights, and domestic services in and out of Auckland, Reuters reported.

In a press conference with local media Sunday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins once again called on residents across Auckland to minimize non-essential travel, urging those who could work from home to do so.

“We do expect severe weather is on the way so please make sure you’re prepared, make sure you have your preparations in place, if you have to stay put for a period of time or if you have to evacuate,” Hipkins told reporters.

On Saturday, Gabrielle transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone meaning it has lost its tropical system characteristics, however the latest forecasts from New Zealand’s MetService warn the storm still poses a “very high risk of extreme, impactful and unprecedented weather over many regions of the North Island from Sunday to Tuesday.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins (C), Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni (R), and Transport Minister Michael Wood (L) at Waka Kotahi Auckland Transport operations room ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle's arrival on February 12 in Auckland, New Zealand.

In Northland, a subtropical region on New Zealand’s North Island, a state of emergency was declared Sunday for an initial period of seven days as part of the regional response to Gabrielle, according to a notice from local authorities.

Northland has experienced just six state of emergency warnings in the last 50 years, the statement added.

Auckland Emergency Management warned the city was likely to be hit by strong winds on Sunday night, with gusts of up to 140 kph (90 mph) or higher from Monday, Reuters reported.

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