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Source: Auckland Council

Summer’s here and hot, dry, sunny weather is on everyone’s mind but this time of year can also bring sudden downpours and stormy weather.

Auckland Emergency Management General Manager Kate Crawford says pre-holiday planning is the smartest way to prepare for any stormy weather that might hit our region over the festive break.

“We want Aucklanders to have a safe and relaxing holiday season and a little pre-holiday planning will make all the difference.

“Now is the right time to add ‘storm prep’ to the holiday to-do list – a few simple things done early will ensure any unsettled weather won’t disrupt Christmas, New Year and holiday season plans.

“Late December and January is the prime season for Pacific cyclones and the tail of these sorts of weather systems can impact us here in Auckland. We’re keeping in close contact with weather forecasters to make sure we’re ready for any unsettled weather too,” she says.

Councillor Sharon Stewart, Chair of the council’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Committee echoes this point.

“If you’re at home, travelling around New Zealand, hosting visitors or visiting our region, make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast and follow advice from the experts.

“Checking your property is clear of debris, including before you go away, is a quick job that could save a lot of trouble in the future.

“It’s also a good time to check your basic household emergency plan is in place, especially if you’re holidaying elsewhere or have visitors over the festive period,” says Cr Stewart.

At home, it’s helpful to have batteries and a torch at the ready in case you lose power, and your gas bottle full for cooking or heating water on the barbecue. Remember, if you don’t have a battery-operated radio, you can tune in to news updates and forecasts in the car.

In the less-likely scenario that you might have to evacuate, make sure you have packed essential items like medication and baby needs, and taken care of any pets.

Visit happens.nz to make a plan for your family.

Now is the time to do pre-storm checks 

Ms Crawford says summer storms can be quick to change course and can be intense when they arrive.

“We strongly recommend getting those pre-storm checks out of the way this weekend – like clearing gutters, checking drains and securing any items that might be affected if the wind picks up.

“If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, consider any plans you need to put in place, including plans for holiday visitors or travel,” says Kate.

“Remember too, if we get regular downpours, the land can become waterlogged and increase the impacts of flooding. And lastly, if you do encounter flooding when out and about remember, never drive through floodwaters.”

Follow Auckland Emergency Management on Twitter (@AucklandCDEM), on Facebook (@aklcdem) or visit aucklandemergencymanagement.org.nz.

Summer storm tips

  • Be prepared – pay attention to weather forecasts, plan your travel around them and prepare yourself before the storm hits.
  • Make a plan – make sure family, friends and flatmates know where to meet or what you’ll do in case of emergency.
  • Clear gutters and drains on your property, check trees for weak branches and bring the cat/dog/rabbit (or any other pets) inside.
  • Have torches and batteries, a full gas bottle for your bbq and a battery operated radio ready if the power goes out.
  • If you need power to pump water or operate septic systems, have an alternate plan in place if the power goes out.
  • If it is isolated where you live or you may get cut off, make sure you’ve got everything you need to keep going for a day or two and let us know if you need help (phone 0800 22 22 00).
  • Check on neighbours, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable and if you can’t help, alert emergency services.
  • If out and about, never drive through flood waters and always drive to the conditions.
  • If your property is at risk or your life is in danger, always dial 111 immediately.
  • Report fallen trees, blocked drains or debris on public property to Auckland Council online or by calling 09 301 0101.

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