As Cyclone Luis is nearing New Zealand, warnings have been issued in Auckland's coastal communities. Residents in Omaha and Orewa are advised to prepare for power cuts and refrain from travelling when the cyclone moves over the country.
The cyclone is expected to bring two-metre storm surges near the beaches north of Whangaparoa with possible erosion of sand and damage to beachfront properties. According to the Council Civil Defence controller Clive Manley, Auckland's city council has been coordinating with the coastal communities to develop an appropriate response plan.
The council encouraged Aucklanders to help fellow neighbours. If only a few will be displaced by the heavy rains, accommodation will be provided around the city. This will change if a large scale evacuation centre is needed.
Considerable swells may be seen in the Hauraki Gulf, according to Richard Woods. The surges will be at their strongest two hours on either side of the high tide.
Cyclone Lusi is expected to be packing gale-force winds with heavy rains and power outages. The cyclone has already caused considerable damage in the Pacific with three people dead in Vanuatu. The weather bureau has predicted that Cyclone Lusi will move out of the tropics and head west for New Zealand's North Island.
Dan Corbett, MetService meteorologist, said residents might experience a relative calm before seeing a dramatic change. Mr Corbett said as the day ends on March 14, New Zealanders will begin to notice the effects as the large mass of rain moves further to the Far North of New Zealand.
He said it will only be less than 24 hours for people to experience the gale-force winds of Cyclone Lusi. Most of the country is warned of heavy rains which may cause flooding.
MetService has issued severe weather warnings for Cyclone Lusi in Auckland, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel Peninsula, Gisborn, Nelson and Marlborough. The weather bureau said Northland should expect 80mm to 100mm of rain in the afternoon of March 15.
Easterly gales will accompany the heavy rain with wind gusts of 120km/hour in Auckland, Northland and Coromandel Peninsula. A weather watch is being maintained for areas in the Central Plateau, Richmond Ranges and Ruahine.
According to MetService, Cyclone Lusi will be a "significant event" to affect northern and central New Zealand. Residents are warned against heavy rain which may result in surface flooding. Severe gales can make it difficult to drive as the winds can lift roofs, topple trees and powerlines.