Cyclone Gabrielle Leaves Thousands without Power in New Zealand

Auckland: Some 46,000 homes have lost power as Cyclone Gabrielle lashes the north of New Zealand.

Local authorities have issued warnings of heavy rain and winds, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Some areas have declared a state of emergency, as Gabrielle nears the North Island.

It comes weeks after Auckland and surrounding areas were hit by record rainfall that sparked floods and killed four people.

A state of emergency has already been declared in five northern regions including Auckland. The declaration gives local authorities greater power to respond to dangerous situations and allows them to restrict travel and provide aid.

Although the cyclone has yet to make landfall, it has already toppled trees, damaged roads and downed power lines, BBC news reported.

Many schools and local government facilities across Auckland and the North Island have closed and people are being asked not to travel if possible.

Meanwhile some 10,000 international Air New Zealand customers were disrupted by the cancellation of 509 flights.

The cyclone is the second significant weather event to hit Auckland and the North Island in just a few weeks.

Authorities said the two large events have stretched the emergency and recovery response system.

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