New Zealand: Cyclone Gabrielle Devastates Coastal Areas of the North Island
Coastal areas of New Zealand’s North Island including the Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay have suffered major devastation from Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, one of the strongest to hit the country in recent years.
Published 1 month ago
Areas of the country including Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay were inundated with rain, winds exceeding 100km/h and powerful storm swells that resulted in devastating floods, slips, power outrages and major disruption to communications and roading infrastructure.
Viki Moore from Island Cruising NZ told Noonsite that many of the marinas in coastal areas of the North Island escaped major damage as they had been well warned by forecasters and were prepared for the bad weather.
“The South Island also escaped relatively unscathed as most people seemed to take heed of warnings and were tucked up safely,” said Viki.
Marinas in Whangarei, Tauranga and the Bay of Islands reported a lot of debris in the waters and some broken lines and sleepless nights for staff, but fortunately relatively little damage.
“The Bay of Islands and Northern Harbours felt the force of the cyclone mainly across Sunday/Monday and into Tuesday, with the worst day being the Sunday with winds around 55-60knts from the east,” said Chris Galbraith, General Manager of Far North Holdings Ltd.
“The Bay of Islands Marina endured the event with little to no damage to the marina or vessels. The well forecasted event enabled staff to ensure boats were well secured and prepared. The adjacent mooring field was boisterous but there was no loss of vessels other than a handful who dragged their moorings slightly – not bad when you there are over 500 moorings in the Opua basin. “
Keith Miller from the Napier Sailing Club was holed up in the Napier Marina in Hawke’s Bay, one of the areas most hardest hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.
“All is fine in the marina, but that’s not the case in the surrounding area,” he said. “I’ve heard some very sad stories of people losing everything in the floods. We still have no power or mobile service. I have Starlink and was probably the only one who had external communications. The (Napier Sailing) Club has managed to get an old generator working to keep their freezer functioning and I’ve moved my Starlink into the club rooms for everyone to use. Everyone is coping as best they can but I’m hearing it’s turning to chaos out there.”
See Keith’s video of storm conditions in the marina courtesy of Island Cruising NZ.
Navy Rescues Sailor
A sailor was rescued from a trimaran by crew from the New Zealand Navy Frigate Te Mana, after drifting more than 100kms from the Great Barrier Island to near the Hen and Chicken Islands, off Whangarei.
HMNZS Te Mana deployed into the Hauraki Gulf on Monday evening (February 13) as part of the search and rescue mission for the vessel. The vessel’s anchor cable had snapped, and the yacht had grounded in Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island. Strong winds then caused it to drift out to sea.
According to a report from the NZ Defence Force, Te Mana’s team had to wait for the weather conditions to abate enough to allow a Rigid Inflatable Hull (RHIB) seaboat and four crew to attempt a rescue. The sailor, wearing a life jacket, left his vessel and was plucked from the sea by two Navy divers on board the RHIB.
- Teams Save Boatie in Extremely Dangerous Eight Metre Waves (NZ Herald)
- Navy Rescues Sailor From Yacht Adrift in Storm (NZ Defence Force)
- Widespread Devastation from Gabrielle (Radio New Zealand)
- 72 Hours if Windy Hell (NZ Herald)
- South Pacific: Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle heads for Norfolk Island and New Zealand (Noonsite)
Related to following destinations: Auckland, Gisborne, Napier, New Zealand, North Island (New Zealand), Opua (Bay of Islands), Tauranga (Bay of Plenty), Whangamata, Whangarei