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Cyclone Fili – Red Warnings for Heavy Rain in force for the Wairoa District and Gisborne, New Zealand

Cyclone Fili on April 12, 2022

New Zealand’s MetService has updated the Severe Weather Watches and Warnings associated with Cyclone Fili – upgrading to a Red Warning for heavy rain for Tairawhiti Gisborne from 22:00 LT on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, and the Wairoa District from 13:00 LT on Wednesday, April 13.  Red Warnings are reserved for the most significant and disrupting weather to communities. 

  • While the system will not redevelop into a tropical cyclone, it is expected to intensify as an extra-tropical low as it tracks southeast just offshore the upper North Island today and Wednesday and moving very close to the East Cape on Wednesday.
  • This is a significant weather event, many regions will be affected, especially those from the Bay of Plenty to Hawke’s Bay and it is important to keep up to date with the latest warnings and official advice.  

Cyclone Fili approaches the North Island from the subtropics today, tracking southeastwards close to eastern parts of the North Island later today (LT) and during Wednesday.

It is expected to bring widespread impacts to the North Island. Heavy rain and severe gales accompany the system, and very large waves and coastal inundation are likely to affect some eastern coasts.

A significant heavy rain event is expected for the Wairoa District and Gisborne where Red Warnings for Heavy Rain are now in force. People in these areas can expect dangerous river conditions and significant flooding.

Slips and floodwaters are likely to disrupt travel, some roads may become impassable, possibly isolating communities, and power outages are also likely. In addition to significant rainfall, severe gale south to southwesterly winds are also forecast, which could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures.

People in these areas are advised to avoid outdoor activities and unnecessary travel during this event, and to stay up to date with the latest Warnings, forecasts, and official advice.

Cyclone Fili forecast track April 12, 2022
Credit: NZ Met Service

“These Red Warnings were issued in consultation with Regional Council Hydrologists and come on the back of the recent flooding events (in March), which these regions are still recovering from,” MetService meteorologist David Miller explains.

In just 24 hours from 22:00 (LT) on Tuesday, April 12, 200 – 300 mm (8 – 12 inches) of rain can be expected to accumulate in Tairawhiti Gisborne, while the Wairoa District can expect 250 – 350 mm (10 – 14 inches) starting 13:00 LT on Wednesday, April 13 with very large rainfall rates of up to 35 – 50 mm/hr (1.5 – 2 inches per hour).

“This amount of rainfall could cause dangerous river conditions, slips and significant flooding, making some roads impassable and possibly isolating communities,” Miller said.

Cyclone Fili at 01:50 UTC on April 12, 2022
Cyclone Fili at 01:50 UTC on April 12, 2022. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, zoom.earth, TW

The rest of the North Island will also feel some impacts from Fili, with a number of Severe Weather Watches and Orange Warnings issued. However, due to the cyclone tracking further east, heavy rain is looking less likely for some other parts in western areas of the North Island. 

Orange Warnings for heavy rain and Watches are in effect for northern and eastern parts of the North Island from Northland and Auckland down to Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay south of the Wairoa District. The entire North Island is under either an Orange Warning for Strong Wind or a Watch, with those in central and eastern areas expected to get the strongest gusts.  

Additionally, significant and hazardous waves are likely with the potential for dangerous rip currents inshore to affect northern and eastern parts of the North Island coastline. 

References:

1 Tropical Cyclone Bulletin – Issued by New Zealand MetService at 08:35 LT on April 12, 2022

2 Cyclone Fili – MetService Red Warnings issued on April 12, 2022. Covering period for April 12 – 14

Featured image: Cyclone Fili at 01:50 UTC on April 12, 2022. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, zoom.earth, TW

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