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400mm of rain and gale force easterly winds are expected overnight for the Coromandel. Photo: SUPPLIED

Cyclone Gabrielle set to strengthen overnight

Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) has urged residents to get to somewhere safe and to remain there for the next 24 hours as Cyclone Gabrielle intensifies.

Council said the cyclone will build momentum until the early hours of tomorrow morning with 400mm of rain in the next 24 hours and gale force easterly winds.

“The eye of the cyclone is directly over the Coromandel at present and it is forecast to head south east and move off by Tuesday afternoon,” council said.

“Once this happens, the strong winds will turn westerly and impact the Firth of Thames and State Highway 25 [Thames Coast Road].

Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler said it would be intense and dangerous for residents if they weren’t in a safe location.

“Get to somewhere safe and secure now and stay there for the next 24 hours, don’t take any risks,” he said.

Council said all Refuse Transfer Stations (RTS) will remain closed tomorrow with no kerbside rubbish and recycling collections also taking place. 

“Keep your material until next week or take it to a RTS once they’re open,” council said. 

Council said the Thames Centennial Pool would also be closed tomorrow and New World Whitianga would close at 7pm tonight following the Countdown Whitianga closure at 2pm. 

Council said Civil Defence had approximately 150 personnel from across the district and New Zealand responding, supporting and standing by for the event.

Mayor Len Salt expressed his gratitude to council staff, emergency services, emergency management specialists and contractors for their response.

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