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UPDATE: More than 100 evacuated now, in wake of Cyclone Pam

A warning is in force for the Chatham Islands for severe gales, heavy rain and heavy swells expected tomorrow.

Jason Walls
Mon, 16 Mar 2015

UPDATED: More than 100 people have been evacuated from Te Araroa, Waima Anaura Bay today. 

This morning, More than 40 people were evacuated in the Gisborne district, now Pam heads south towards the the Chatham Islands.

A state of local emergency has been declared on the Chatham Islands. 

Pam’s central pressure has remained about the same in the last 6 hours (962 hPa), but is expected to slowly intensify during today and tomorrow as it moves towards the Chatham Islands.

A warning is in force for the Chatham Islands for severe gales, heavy rain and heavy swells expected tomorrow, MetService has said on their website.

Power has now been restored to roughly 200 homes in Gisborne, according to Eastland Group General Manager Brent Stewart.

EARLIER: Eastland Group General Manager Brent Stewart says there are still about hundreds of customers without electricity, most of them in coastal or rural areas as a result of Cyclone Pam, which passed through the area overnight.

At the end of the Mahia Peninsula about 200 customers on the Wairoa network have lost power and work crews have been dispatched to investigate, repair or minimise the effect.

He says Eastland teams have identified the issues and are working to restore power as soon as possible.

Mr Stewart says all residents are to treat all power lines as live at all times.

Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw says the damage from the cyclone was limited across the far north last night.

The company started recording faults from early yesterday evening as the wind picked up and only 1200 customers experienced any type of disruption to their electricity supply, mostly as a result of trees falling across or into lines.

Most of these were resolved last night. By 6:30am, only 49 customers in the Waiotemarama Gorge area (South Hokianga) were without electricity.

EARLIER: Isolated power faults have been reported in the Eastland Network, as Cyclone Pam moves closer to Gisborne.

Eastland Group General Manager Brent Stewart says some 600 people are currently without power in the Eastland Network – which covers the Gisborne, Tuai and Wairoa networks.

“There are a few isolated faults in and around the city, and some more significant network faults up the coast and inland,” he says.

The most affected area is the Hicks Bay/Lotton Point/Waikura Valley, where roughly 200 people are currently without power.

In Gisborne city, about 100 people in the Mangapapa and Te Hapara suburbs lost power mid-morning.

Mr Stewart says teams are working on the issue and he hopes to be able to advise the power is back on shortly.

He says wind and falling trees have caused most of the outages and reminds anyone who notices a fault to contact the network’s call centre.

MetService has reported that, as of mid-morning, the cyclone was located 230km east-northeast of East Cape Gisborne.

There are also reports of recorded rainfall in excess of 100 mm in the past 12 hours in Gisborne and wind gusts of 130 km/h in Hicks Bay.

The worst of the cyclone is expected to hit the Gisborne area around midday.

A warning has also been issued to the Chatham Islands as the system is expected to continue moving south-southeast into tomorrow.

“Gusts of 130 to 160km/h are expected with the severe gales. Winds of this strength have the potential to topple trees, damage power lines, lift roofs and make driving conditions hazardous,” the warning notes.

“A heavy south to southwest swell is expected during Wednesday and Thursday. These swells have the potential to cause damage, especially to northern and eastern coastal areas.”

Jason Walls
Mon, 16 Mar 2015
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UPDATE: More than 100 evacuated now, in wake of Cyclone Pam
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