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Agencies prepare city for forecast extreme weather

Agencies prepare city for forecast extreme weather

Christchurch City Council, Civil Defence and key agencies are putting precautions in place ahead of forecast rain over the weekend.

Heavy rain, winds and stormy conditions are forecast to reach Christchurch on Sunday. The city’s stormwater and drainage systems have already been checked ahead of the possible deluge and emergency responses are being put in place.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the Council has been working all week to prepare for the forecast storm.

“This is a situation where if we prepare for the worst case scenario, we will be ready for what may come. I’d much rather we put too many precautions in place than not enough.

“Councillors, Community Board Members and I were given an initial briefing by Civil Defence this morning and we will be receiving more technical information from engineers about preparations later today. We are also calling on communities and individuals to prepare as best they can for the forecast rain.

“We will have more information for people on our preparations and precautions ahead of Sunday. This will help community groups and residents across the city prepare.”

The Council and other response agencies are meeting again tomorrow to finalise preparations for the weekend.


Preparations ahead of Sunday

Sandbags
Sandbags are useful for addressing some, localised flooding, for example to stop water flowing under a garage door or diverting water downhill. Engineers estimated it would have taken around 500,000 sandbags to make even a small difference on the wider flooding issues experience in the Flockton Street area last week. They don’t protect against water coming from under the house and through floorboards.

Council contractors hold stocks of sandbags for emergency responses and Council engineers are right now working to prioritise where these might best be used to address issues across the city. Some areas where this could be effective are parts of Lyttelton, including around last week’s slip, where water can be diverted elsewhere. Commercial properties have also been identified.

Sandbags will be made available at key locations across the city where flooding is a known risk. Other plans for making sandbags available to residents are being considered and updates will made ahead of the weekend.

Sandbags will not be effective for residential properties where flooding has occurred through floorboards. The Council has received many calls from people requesting sandbags for the weekend. If you believe sandbags would help you address a specific flood issue on your property, please phone the call centre and your details will be collected and used as part of this planning.

Drain clearing
Council teams have been out across the city all week clearing drains and waterways, sweeping roads and clearing road sumps ahead of the weekend. This work is largely complete now, but teams will be checking known flooding areas again today and over the weekend. Crews will once again be out 24 hours over the weekend when rain starts to keep these waterways clear.

Road closures
Keeping traffic out of surface flooding areas is a key element of the response to heavy rainfall. The bow waves created by cars and other vehicles driving through flooded streets can cause houses to flood or make existed flooding worse. Please drive avoid driving through flood water if possible. If you must drive in these areas, please slow down.

Roads known to be affected by surface flooding will be closed ahead of time, and crews will staff some of the closures, to ensure residents are protected from these issues. If you see cones being moved, please fell free to put them back where they should be.

Stopbanks
Engineers are checking stopbanks to assess and ensure they are ready for the weekend weather.

Army/Volunteers
The Council is liaising with the army today to secure extra resources for the emergency response should this be required. The Council is also contacting volunteer organisations to coordinate efforts over the weekend.

Wastewater
Once again, residents are advised that wastewater is likely to mix with floodwaters and should stay out of contact with the water. If you do come into contact with flood waters you should wash your hands and wash any clothes.

Welfare
The Council’s Strengthening Communities team is coordinating with other welfare agencies ahead of the weekend to ensure preparations are in place. More information will be made available before the weekend about contacts and planning.

Call centre
The Council’s call centre is already receiving a lot of calls from people concerned about forecast weather. Extra resourcing is being put in place over the weekend and early next week to ensure calls are answered and people receive the help they need.

Further updates
Updates will continue ahead of the forecast weather and information will be available online at www.ccc.govt.nz. This will include information about how residents and communities can prepare themselves for a flood.

Ends

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