New Zealanders brace for 2nd major storm in just over a week

Parts of New Zealand's North Island are under a state of emergency, with landslides reportedly already seen in some of the islands low-lying regions. Thursday, April 13, 2017.

Waikato was forecast to get 20mm of rain before 10pm, with a section of SH1 flooding earlier, while Mount Taranaki, Tongariro National Park, Taupo and Kaikoura are all in for brief but heavy rain through the night. Hundreds of people in New Zealand were evacuated from some coastal areas.

RNZ's reporter in the area said residents were on standby to evacuate if needed.

(Alan Gibson/New Zealand Herald via AP).

A heavy storm which has been labelled the "worst in decades" has started to batter New Zealand's coast.

Air New Zealand is offering fare flexibility for customers no longer wishing to travel, details are available here.

Conditions are expected to be so hazardous, the MetService is advising people to seriously consider altering Easter travel plans and not to "take any chances".

Auckland escaped largely unscathed. Some 2,000 homes were without power.

On top of that, Cyclone Cook is expected to cross from the Coromandel Peninsula to Wellington during Thursday, brining downpours and severe gales.

The storm is expected to move south overnight, reaching Wellington or the Wairarapa early on Friday morning.

The MetService weather agency predicted rainfall could exceed 100 millimeters (4 inches) in some places and cause more flooding in areas still recovering from heavy rainfall last week.

The weather event comes just a week after the Bay of Plenty and other key kiwifruit growing regions across the country's North Island were hit by torrential rain stemming from ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, which wreaked havoc across northern Australia. It left the town of Edgecumbe flooded by thigh-high water with many people still unable to return to their homes.

It is due to hit New Zealand's North Island later today, with wind gusts of more than 150 km/h possible.

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