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Cyclone Cook: The storm that never was

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By Taryn Dryfhout

With Cyclone Cook having completely missed Auckland, many people were left wondering if the storm warnings had been exaggerated.

April 13 was set to be a dramatic day for residents of Auckland — instead it ended up being a day off for students on Albany’s campus.

“It’s going to be the worst storm to hit New Zealand since 1968, when Cyclone Giselle sank the Wahine,” the radio warned.

With the Auckland area said to be sitting directly in the predicted path of the cyclone, many people were sent home from work early, and schools were closed so that everyone could get home to be prepared for the coming destruction.

The Albany campus issued a notice early in the day.

“The university is closing the Auckland campus from 11am today for the safety of students and staff as Cyclone Cook approaches,” the notice said.

“All lectures, tutorials, labs and other teaching events are cancelled from that time. The closure includes the shore and Whāriki research centre in central Auckland.”

Auckland Transport also warned that the Auckland Harbour Bridge would likely close due to strong winds.

While the storm never actually arrived in Auckland, instead weakening, and heading east, several New Zealand towns did feel its effects.

White Island recorded wind gusts of over 200 kilometres per hour and the Bay of Plenty saw six-metre-high waves around coastlines. Strong winds also disrupted many flights in and out of Wellington and took down power lines.

While Auckland dodged a bullet, the recent flooding that battered the east coast town of Edgecumbe is a reminder New Zealand can be particularly vulnerable to weather events, and with Auckland being home to such a large population, it was important that people be prepared to look after themselves in the event of a damaging weather event.

As the old saying goes: Better safe than sorry.

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