Residents of the Norfolk Island have been warned to brace themselves for extreme weather over the weekend as Tropic Cyclone Gabrielle storms towards the Australian territory.
The category three cyclone is rapidly moving towards the tourist hot spot and is expected to pass through Norfolk Island on Saturday evening.
The 2100 residents and visitors are being urged to prepare with the strongest winds forecast to hit the island from 2pm on Saturday.
Modelling shared by the Bureau of Meteorology suggested the cyclone would hit the island at around 6pm as a category two storm and would not pass through until the early hours of Sunday.
Destructive gale-force winds have been forecast to hit the island. The BOM has warned gusts could reach a high of 155km/ph on Saturday afternoon.
People in the area are advised to secure boats and property before nightfall.
The eye of the system may see gusts easing for a short period but destructive winds are likely to resume from the opposite direction.
The BOM has also warned of abnormally high tides and heavy surf, which is likely to cause localised damage and coastal erosion.
Heavy rain is expected to hit on Saturday, but will likely ease on Sunday.
Sky Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the conditions, although dangerous through the storm, would provide a good opportunity for experienced surfers to test their skill on Queensland’s southeast coast.
“Those waves will be fairly large and the winds on Saturday morning will be favourable for surfing,” Mr Sharpe said.
“That’s probably the best opportunity for experienced surfers to enjoy some bigger waves.”
The system is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves towards New Zealand’s North Island over the weekend.
Mr Sharpe warned the New Zealand could face further flooding in the already hard hit region.
“As the system moves further south, it’s now likely to target New Zealand’s North Island with heavy rainfall.”
Residents in Auckland are also preparing for the storm, gathering sandbags to prevent damage.
Anyone in the cyclone’s path can seek further information from Emergency Management Norfolk Island on +6723 999 or the Norfolk Island Police Force on +6723 22222.