Flights grounded as ‘worst storm in a generation’ hits New Zealand

Flights grounded as ‘worst storm in a generation’ hits New Zealand

Towns along the North Island of New Zealand’s north-east coast are being evacuated ahead of the worst storm forecast in generations.

Cyclone Cook is expected to make landfall at 6pm local time over Bay of Plenty.

Authorities have warned of high waves, storm surges, and landslides.

Flights across the country have either been delayed or cancelled, with Air New Zealand suspending operations from Tauranga airport in North Island.

It comes after severe floods caused by the tail end of Cyclone Debbie hit some parts of the country last week.

Parts of New Zealand’s North Island are now under a state of emergency, with residents in the low-lying parts of Coromandel, which has already seen landslips and closed roads, told to leave immediately.

Cyclone Cook, which is forecast to bring winds of up to 93 mph, is then expected to hit South Island on Friday.

New Zealand weather officials say that Cyclone Cook will be the worst to hit the country since 1968.

They have also warned that it is a “really tightly packed cyclone” that will bring a “phenomenal” amount of rain and wind, reported The New Zealand Herald, compared to Cyclone Debbie which was more spread out.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has already issued an alert for British travellers after a state of emergency was declared for the Bay of Plenty.

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