Wellington, February 10: The New Zealand government on Friday urged residents across the country to prepare for the Category 3 cyclone Gabrielle after severe flooding hit the largest city of Auckland and claimed four lives two weeks ago.

Gabrielle could bring significant severe weather to many regions of New Zealand and the government stands ready to support communities that may be impacted, Xinhua news agency quoted Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty as saying at a media briefing. Cyclone Gabrielle Live Tracker Map on Windy: Tropical Cyclone Intensifies Into Category 3 Storm, Heading Towards Australia's Norfolk Island and New Zealand; Check Real-Time Status.

"Cyclone Gabrielle is likely to impact across the North Island with severe gales and heavy rain forecast from Sunday through to Tuesday (February 14). That gives us time to plan and prepare -- and this preparation is well underway," McAnulty said.

It is difficult to predict exactly what course the cyclone will take, but if the cyclone continues on its current path, it is likely to be a severe weather event impacting communities in Northland, Auckland, and other regions in the North Island, the Minister noted. He called on New Zealanders to use the next few days to get ready.

The tropical cyclone hurtling toward New Zealand is now expected to bring dangerous conditions to more North Island regions, and parts of the South Island, according to the latest MetService update. What Is Bomb Cyclone? Know All About the Phenomenon Responsible for Extremely Cold Weather and Freezing Temperatures Affecting US.

The update revealed that the cyclone, packed with 140km/h plus winds and a month's worth of rain, will now impact from the top of the North Island to the top of the South for the first part of next week. On Friday, a first monster wave alert was issued with seven-metre waves expected to pound the south-east coast of the North Island on February 13.

The last round of record rainfall on January 27 had caused massive flooding, with the state of emergency declared by the government. More than 769 per cent of rainfall in a normal January was recorded, which was about more than a third of Auckland's entire annual average.

Also as a precautionary measure, flag carrier Air New Zealand on Friday asked all passengers domestic and international passengers to reconsider travel, reports The NZ Herald. The carrier is extending travel flexibility for international travel from Friday up to and including February 22.

"If your travel is not essential, please consider postponing your plans, especially if you have children travelling alone or if you are travelling with pets," the airline said on its travel alert page.

In a statement issued on Friday, Auckland Airport said it has supplies of blankets, water, snack food and essentials in case travellers are stranded by the cyclone. Thousands of passengers at the airport were hit by last month's flooding which inundated the international terminal and many were forced to spend a night.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 10, 2023 12:19 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).