The Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HBCDEM) is monitoring and preparing for potential impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle, and warning communities to get ready for the severe weather it may bring to the region.
MetService is expecting Cyclone Gabrielle to bring significant heavy rain, potentially damaging winds and large waves to many parts of the country, starting in the north today and spreading to other parts of northern and central New Zealand early next week.
Hawke's Bay is currently under an Orange Heavy Rain Warning for the 24-hour period from 10am Monday, 13 February to 10am Tuesday, 14 February, and a Strong Wind Warning for the 19-hour period from 5pm Monday, to noon Tuesday.
Group Controller Edaan Lennan said that HBCDEM had already moved to a formal ‘Monitoring’ mode of operation on Friday morning and will be escalating to a ‘Coordinating’ mode at 8am on Monday. This will involve local council Emergency Operation Centres being activated at a local level and the Group Emergency Coordination Centre working to coordinate the response across the region.
“Hawke’s Bay residents need to be prepared for heavy rain, strong winds and large waves,” Edaan Lennan said.
“We were briefed by senior MetService meteorologists this morning, and their advice is that Gabrielle will be a significant event, especially in the northern and central parts of the North Island.
“We have been taking a precautionary and proactive approach by preparing our communities and ourselves for any potential weather impacts,” Edaan Lennan said.
Edaan Lennan said HBCDEM had been working closely with NEMA, MetService New Zealand, Civil Defence Groups around the country and councils and partner agencies in Hawke’s Bay to track Cyclone Gabrielle and prepare for potential impacts.
“We’ve had several days of planning, national briefings and regional coordination meetings and we’ve started contacting our community champions," Edaan Lennan said.
“We are completing the finishing touches of preparation and planning today, so we are ahead of the ball and in a strong and ready position for any potential weather that comes our way tomorrow.
“Councils have activated their Incident Management Teams and will be standing up Emergency Operations Centres, and are preparing their infrastructure, staff, and community facilities for possible impacts,” Edaan Lennan said.
Edaan Lennan said there is still some uncertainty with the exact track of the weather system, and changes in direction and speed will have a large effect on outcomes and impacts.
Potential impacts of the severe weather could be power outages, road and transportation damage, and coastal inundation from swells in some areas.
“We’re urging people in the region, particularly in our rural communities, to be prepared and to have a plan in place to respond to heavy rain and wind,” Edaan Lennan said.
“Now is the time to get your whānau and your household ready.
“Prepare for the possibility of power cuts and road closures. Have a grab bag in case you need to evacuate. If you don’t have a household emergency plan, sit down and have a prep talk with your family and housemates about what you’ll do to support each other in an emergency.
“Ensure you have enough food, fuel and supplies for at least three days and please reach out to your neighbours and anyone who might need your help.
“Everyone in Hawke’s Bay needs to keep up-to-date with the forecast and conditions over the next few days.
“Stay aware, keep your wits about you, and if you feel like your life, safety or property is at risk, call 111 immediately and heed the advice to keep yourself safe. Stay with friends and family if you can, keep connected and look out for your neighbours,” Edaan Lennan said.
How to get prepared:
• Keep up to date with MetService weather forecasts.
• Make a household plan that includes your pets in case you need to evacuate.
• Have grab bags ready for everyone in your family. These should include short term essential supplies such as medications, snacks, water, torches, pet food, and baby formula (if needed).
• Be prepared for possible power outages and check emergency supplies. Make sure you have some cash at home or food and water to last three days, and a battery powered radio to stay informed.
• Remove any debris or loose items from around your property and tie down heavy outdoor objects. If you have a trampoline, turn it upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to wind.
• Clear debris and leaves from external drains and gutters to prevent overflow or water damage in heavy rain.
• Farmers and lifestyle block owners need to consider how and where you will relocate stock in a flood situation. Move stock and equipment out of low-lying areas.
• Storm events can damage water infrastructure so consider storing clean water for drinking, particularly if your home is in a flood-prone area or if you’re on a non-reticulated supply or private supply
• Check on your neighbours and anyone who might need your help.
• Put safety first. Don’t take any chances. Act quickly if you see rising water.
• In an emergency, call 111.
• Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood water.
Go to https://getready.govt.nz/en/emergency/storms/ for more tips on how to prepare.
16 February 2023
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