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Cyclone Cook is expected to bring severe weather to many parts of the North Island, with Auckland poised to receive a particularly harsh battering.
MetService says thunderstorms and periods of heavy rain are expected from now until Thursday evening. Between 120 to 160mm is forecast, with rainfall rates of 30 to 40mm/h possible.
Meteorologist Lisa Murray says it could be the worst cyclone to hit New Zealand since 1968, when the Wahine disaster occurred.
Damaging gales with gusts of more than 150km/h are possible, as well as large waves of more than five metres.
Newshub's weather camera, mounted atop the Sky Tower, is a perfect vantage point from which to keep an eye on Cyclone Cook as it develops.
Aucklanders are being urged to prepare for the worst by tying down trampolines and other loose objects, and making sure they have enough food, water and torches in case of power outages.