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Metservice issues wave warning as Cyclone Cody tracks east

The cyclone is tracking east, with waves of up to 7 metres expected by early Monday evening, MetService warns.

Tropical Cyclone Cody is tracking further east than previously forecast, but MetService is still warning Gisborne and East Cape to be prepared for heavy rain and swells.

The cyclone is over waters to the north of New Zealand and is expected to move southwards approaching the country on Sunday and pass near East Cape on Monday.

“At the moment the most likely track is to pass just east of Gisborne – but that’s the centre of the cyclone, it doesn’t mean severe weather is going to miss New Zealand. There is a large area of rain and gales that will affect parts of the country,” MetService meteorologist Stephen​ Glassey​ said

The cyclone is accompanied by a tropical air mass, expected to bring hazardous conditions including heavy rain, gale-force winds, large easterly swells, and significant sea surges and rips.

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MetService issued a heavy swell warning on Friday afternoon for combined waves, swells, and wind waves.

Easterly combined waves are expected at 3.5 metres, gradually rising to 7m by early Monday evening, then easing to 3m late Tuesday afternoon.

Northeast swells of more than 3.5m are expected around East Cape from late Sunday afternoon, and are set to spread along the entire Gisborne coast by Monday afternoon, peaking with swells up to 6.5m through to Tuesday.

MetService has issues a heavy swell warning, with some waves expected to reach heights of up to 7 metres. (file photo)

John Dent/Supplied

MetService has issues a heavy swell warning, with some waves expected to reach heights of up to 7 metres. (file photo)

The cyclone is accompanied by a tropical air mass, expected to bring hazardous conditions including heavy rain, gale-force winds, large easterly swells, and significant sea surges and rips.

”One thing we are more certain about is large waves from the cyclone – we are expecting hazardous large waves along the east coast of the North Island, starting on Saturday, and getting worse as the cyclone approaches.”

On Friday morning, MetService issued a heavy rain watch for Gisborneand the Wairoa District, along with a strong wind watch for Bay of Plenty east of Whakatane and Gisborne north of Tokomaru Bay.

Though forecasts show the cyclone moving away from landfall, it is still a developing situation and could likely change before Sunday.

“There is a significant chance it could change again – it jumped fairly significantly [to the east] from yesterday to today. It would be a surprise if it started tracking further westward, but not a total surprise.

Flooding in Gisborne in 2021.

Gisborne District Council

Flooding in Gisborne in 2021.

”If the cyclone tracks a little bit further west, the location and intensity of those impacts will change, so it will pay for people to stay up to date,” Glassey said.

Tairāwhiti Civil Defence and Emergency Manager Ben Green said Sponge Bay, Te Araroa, Hicks Bay, Uawa Catchment and Poverty Bay Flats are all potentially at risk from flooding.

Emergency management has been focused on informing campers and other visitors in coastal areas of Tairāwhiti.

A forecast track map for TC Cody from the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre as of Wednesday.

Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre

A forecast track map for TC Cody from the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre as of Wednesday.

“The key focus has been informing the community about the weather that is on its way and to adopt a ‘be prepared’ stance given the warning advisory that has been issued. Campgrounds and properties that are in areas that can be prone to risk from heavy swells etc have been visited and made aware of the potential risk and the weather that is on the way,” Green said.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency released an advisory warning on Friday urging motorists to check the weather forecast before travelling this weekend and be prepared for large swells on low-lying coastal roads, heavy rain and severe gales.

“With weather like this, we often see fallen trees, slips and debris on the road,” Waka Kotahi national journey manager, Helen Harris, said.

“Driving will be challenging in these conditions, so people will need to take extra care. Avoid travel if the weather gets very bad, but if you do need to travel then please drive to the conditions – keep speeds down, maintain a safe following distance and stay alert.”

“Given strong gusts of wind are expected, people travelling in high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorcycles need to be particularly cautious and should consider delaying travel until the severe weather dies down, even if the roads are open.”

Napier City Council crews were cleaning grates, screens and sumps, and clearing pumps and outfalls ahead of expected heavy rainfall, a spokesperson said.

The council also advised people against driving their cars unnecessarily down any flooded streets, after bow waves created through this action during the November 2020 floods caused widespread damage.

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