Cyclone warning

The cyclone is coming

February 2023: On NZ1 Dan the weather anchor-man had returned from his summer holiday in great form. He stood in front of Australia with arms flailing like a windmill, and similes bursting (“you see these two fronts here? They are like two rugby players having a tackle POW!” – with demonstration). He seldom felt the need to use strictly meteorological terms. (“See those little red things? That’s a heat warning.”) However, he did feel the need to let us know that another cyclone was building out over the coral sea, and was tracking (rugby tackles notwithstanding) straight for Auckland.

This was terrible news. Ed Sheeran was due to play at Eden Park. Luckily he got in before the cyclone but he still suffered a complete loss of acoustic power half way through his set. Possibly due in some part to the fact that everything was still soaking wet from the last downpour and flooding two weeks ago when Elton was in town. NZ1 reported that the crowd entertained themselves with Mexican Waves before good old Ed returned to the stage with his trusty guitar and sang some songs.

The air over Auckland was heavy with the smell of wet possessions. The Mayor had been forced to admit that he had “dropped the ball” (its all about sport here) and had messed up previous flooding communication.  To show he was a changed man, he donned his gloves and hi-viz and went out with the rubbish carts, who were still engaged in a massive effort to clean up the remaining debris before Cyclone Gabrielle hit. The supermarket shelves emptied – especially toilet rolls.  Aucklanders waited in one and a half hour queues to fill sandbags. The sandbags ran out. The fighting began. 

In North Island flights were grounded. Roads were closed. Schools were shut. Drains were cleared. Community shelters were opened. The authorities warned that destruction was inevitable. The heroes were standing by. But the sight of weatherman Dan warning everyone to “use your time well before it gets here”, was terrifying.

As the wind rose, one man with a sea view property in Northland filmed huge waves breaking on to his garden and cried out in despair “oh no! Me lawn! That took ages to do!”

New Zealand hunkered down and waited.

Be prepared

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