Plan now for a stormy start to the weekend

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Auckland, April 12, 2017

Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management is urging Aucklanders to think carefully about their travel plans and prepare for a wet few days.

Rain is hitting parts of the region already with scattered heavy showers in some areas. However, the worse is still to come.

MetService Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says Cyclone Cook is tracking as expected.

“The heavy rain and localised downpours that we’re already experiencing across the region are expected to worsen tomorrow.

“Added to the rain (tomorrow), we’ll see severe gales, with gusts of up to 140kmph being forecast as Cyclone Cook passes by the region. This is likely to impact on transport, particularly ferries and at airports,” she said.

Clearing property

Auckland Civil Defence Head of Emergency Management Operations Aaron Davis said that Aucklanders should be clearing gutters and drains on their own property and seriously considering timing of holiday weekend travel.

“We strongly advise people to think carefully about their travel plans tomorrow (Thursday). With wild weather expected to hit the Auckland region between midday and 6pm, postponing travel is recommended.

“Our friends in the Thames-Coromandel District, which has just declared a civil defence emergency for the area, are also advising people to delay their travel until at least Saturday,” he said.

Great Barrier Island

On Great Barrier Island, extreme rainfall is forecast to hit today and tomorrow. People on the Barrier are being urged to prepare for bursts of heavy rain and localised deluges over the next two days. The arrival of Cyclone Cook tomorrow is expected to bring more intense rain and extremely high winds of up to 165 km/h. Schools on the island are being advised to close tomorrow.

Kawakawa Bay/Orere Point

People in the Kawakawa Bay and Orere Point areas in Auckland’s south east – two areas already battered by previous weather events – are being warned they may again be isolated by road and be without power or phone for a substantial amount of time.

Rest of Auckland

Mr Davis says contractors are on standby and the council has checked in with emergency services, utilities companies and lifelines providers.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to keep an eye on the weather forecasts over the next few days and prepare to adjust your plans if the weather continues to deteriorate.

“Looking out for neighbours, friends and family will also be important, especially if you live, work or travel in an area that is prone to flooding, slips or power outages,” he says.

The council’s Healthy Waters department has, as part of its regular hotspot maintenance programme, begun clearing blocked inlets, outlets, catchpits and ponds that are known to contribute to flooding issues.

Hot Spot Programme

A portion of these are high risk and therefore included on the council’s regular ‘hot spot’ programme so are cleared before and after a heavy rain event.

If you’re heading out and about in Auckland over the long weekend consider the following advice:

Visit Auckland Transport’s Facebook page for up to date road closures and public transport information.

Always drive to the weather conditions and never drive through floodwaters.

If you get stuck in a flood, get out of your car and move to higher ground immediately, taking great care in the floodwaters.

Never play in or walk through floodwaters unnecessarily, you may encounter unseen objects, dangerous debris or holes.

If driving at night, drive slowly, especially through flood-prone areas as you may encounter flooding at short notice.

If your property or suburb may be affected by slips or power outages, prepare for the possibility that your road access may be cut off and ensure you have food and provisions on hand in case of isolation.

Never attempt to drive over slips and treat power lines as live at all times.

Emergency Services

If there is an immediate risk to life or property contact the emergency services on 111.

Report blocked drains, flooding and trees down on public land to the council on 09 301 0101.

Check on neighbours and family, especially if they are in at risk areas or might be affected by flooding or slips.

If you’ve planned to go camping in our regional parks – phone 09 301 0101 to check the status of the campground before setting off.

If you’re planning to go mountain biking, tramping or walking in any regional parks – check conditions and weather forecasts before you go and make sure you’re well prepared for the conditions. If you’re heading out in the Waitakere Ranges, drop in to the Arataki Visitor Centre first for advice on conditions.

Tapapakanga Regional Park remains closed.

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