Radar images show cloud over New Zealand. Source NZ Met Service
Radar images show cloud over New Zealand. Source NZ Met Service

New Zealanders brace for worst storm in a generation

New Zealanders are evacuating towns on the east coast of the north island as what many are calling the worst storm in a generation bears down. 

The country is bracing for the second major storm in just over a week as the remnants of Cyclone Cook look set to hit the Pacific nation. 

Civil authorities on Thursday advised people in low-lying areas on the North Island's Coromandel peninsula to evacuate to higher ground.

The New Zealand Herald described the storm as the worst seen in New Zealand "in generations" and that authorities were considering closing the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Air New Zealand suspended flights from Tauranga Airport and the military placed 500 troops on standby.

The worst of the weather is expected to hit Thursday afternoon through Friday night.

The MetService weather agency predicted rainfall could exceed 100 millimetres in some places. The service predicted winds could gust to 150 kilometres per hour and waves of over five metres would hit the coast.

Last Thursday the remnants of Cyclone Debbie flooded some towns.

The BBC's Hywel Griffith says the Bay of Plenty on the country's northern side, suffered flooding last week caused by the tail end of Cyclone Debbie.

The same area is now expecting 300mm of rain to fall, which means some houses may be flooded again.

The storm is also expected to bring gales of up to 150km/h.

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