Yesterday I promised more major seismic activity in the coming days and we didn't have to wait for long. . And once again the quake coincided with another incredible geological occurrence, right in the middle of the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle.
As I mentioned yesterday on January 9th this year, a very powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake rocked Indonesia at precisely 18:47 UTC—Just 3 minutes later at 18:50 our Sun launched a powerful X-Class flare from sunspot AR3182! I have never seen these two powerful events so closely linked together before. Full story
This morning's major quake (mag 6 or higher) was the 7th major quake so far in February and the 18th of 2023.
New Zealand declared a state of emergency on Monday as Cyclone Gabrielle started to lash the North Island. People in several regions such as Northland and Auckland, the country's largest city, have been warned of a high risk of tidal flooding by the civil defence department.
Thousands of people are cut off power in the North Island. According to the forecast, 400 millimetres of rain and wind gusts of 130 km/hour are expected over the next 20 hours. The national carrier Air NZ cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Auckland on Sunday, and many international flights are also cancelled. Most schools and childcare centres in the region have closed, and 26 emergency shelters and civil defence centres have been set up across Auckland, according to the civil defence department.
Auckland and many other places in the region were upgraded to red alert on Sunday as MetService, the national meteorological service of the country warned that the worst weather is yet to come. The government asked residents to prepare sandbags to buffer their homes, store food and water, and be ready for necessary evacuations in the coming days. Many sandbag stations are set up across Auckland overnight, and locals are encouraged to prepare their own sandbags for extreme situations.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins urged people to "take the severe weather warning seriously" and "stay at home, cancel all unnecessary travels." This is only two weeks after Auckland and the adjacent region Waikato were inundated by record downpours and floods. Red Warnings are only issued for the most significant weather events, and this is the second time already in the year 2023.