Watch: Rain-soaked Ed Sheeran performs as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle batters New Zealand

New Zealand has been dealing with a dayslong onslaught of stormy weather as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle approached the northern coast with over 11 inches of rain and wind gusts of 75-100 mph in spots. Several inches fell in Auckland as Ed Sheeran performed at the city's Eden Center.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Singer Ed Sheeran wasn't going to let heavy rains from approaching Cyclone Gabrielle ruin his concert in Auckland this weekend, but the tropical storm has caused headaches across much of New Zealand's northern island as heavy rains, and fierce winds pummel the region.

According to the New Zealand Herald, torrential rains poured down on Sheeran and his fans during Saturday's concert at the Eden Center.

"Will you dance in the rain with me tonight?" Sheeran asked his fans, according to the news report. 

"When I fall over, be kind to me on social media," he added.

The nation has been dealing with a dayslong onslaught of stormy weather as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, similar to tropical storms and hurricanes that strike in the U.S., approached the northern coast. The storm was skirting the northeastern coastline early Tuesday morning in New Zealand, just far enough away to avoid landfall but close enough to have widespread, lasting impacts across the northern island.


Peak wind gust from Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle reaches 101 mph

Wind gusts in parts of Auckland are forecast to reach as high as 75-80 mph, with widespread gusts of 75-85 mph likely along the northern island, according to New Zealand's MetService as they issued a Strong Wind Warning for the area. Some of the more exposed coastal areas in the far north have seen gusts as high as 90-100 mph, with Channel Island recording a gust of 101 mph, the MetService said.

Meanwhile, torrential tropical rains have drenched the area. Hikuwai near the town of Gisborne has measured over 11 inches of rain in the storm. Whangarei recorded 7.24 inches within 24 hours, making Feb. 12 their second-wettest February day on record, the MetService reported.


Impacts were felt across the Tairawhiti Gisborne area, which is known as the place that experiences the world's first sunrise.

"It’s wild out there! Tairāwhiti is taking a pounding," the Tairawhiti Civil Defence Emergency agency said.  "It's extremely hazardous everywhere!"

Heavy rains have flooded roads and prompted evacuations of low-lying areas. Flooding damaged the Arero Road Bridge which crosses the Hikuwai River.

"We're seeing a lot of flooding in the city and some evacuations around low lying area," the Tairawhiti Civil Defence Emergency agency said.


Residents were also asked to conserve water and use it for only essential purposes as the storm damaged the main water supply from dams to their water treatment plant. Crews were heading out Tuesday for repairs. 

Another 4-6 inches of rain was possible across the area Tuesday as Gabrielle slowly moves out to sea. To top off the weekend, the area near Gisborne also experienced a 4.4 earthquake centered not far from town, but no damage or injuries were reported.