Monday, July 22, 2024
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Waking up to bad weather

A state of emergency was declared in Northland, Auckland, Opotiki, Thames-Coromandel, and Tairawhiti yesterday after Cyclone Gabrielle made landfall in New Zealand.

At press time, Wairarapa had yet to experience forecast high winds and heavy rain, but Metservice was predicting the wind would hit the region last night, while heavy rain was expected after 11pm. A heavy rain warning and a strong wind warning are in place until 3pm today. Up to 180mm of rain can be expected in the ranges and eastern hills, and 80-120mm in lower-lying areas. Wind gusts could reach up to 120kmh in exposed places.

However, the path the cyclone takes is unpredictable, and forecasts are only accurate six hours ahead.

Metlink general manager Samantha Gain said while the network would be running, passengers should avoid any non-essential travel and check for cancellations.

If you wake this morning to more disruption and damage than expected, here’s what you need to know.

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office has advised residents to make a household emergency plan, secure any loose items around properties, and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Carterton District Council [CDC] said if your property flooded, Fire and Emergency might not be able to get to you, and the council could be busy keeping assets operating and core services – such as drinking water, wastewater, and roading – functioning.

CDC urged people to create a plan in case access to their house is cut off, or they need to evacuate due to flooding or landslides.

“Ensure you have a grab bag ready. Include key items like medication and warm clothing.”

Additionally, CDC said it had plans in place and its incident management team on standby, monitoring the situation over the weekend.

Masterton District Council said its teams were also on standby and ready to respond.

South Wairarapa District Council said any roading problems should be reported to the council.

Wairarapa MP and Civil Defence Minister Kieran McAnulty said the need to declare a national state of emergency is being monitored and actively reviewed every four hours.

“We have not reached that point and we may not have to. This is an all-of-government response with all agencies ready to respond as needed,” he said yesterday afternoon.

He noted there have only been two national states of emergency in New Zealand’s history – the Christchurch earthquake and covid-19.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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