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Cyclone Lusi may bring severe weather to New Zealand

Media release

12 March 2014

Cyclone Lusi may bring severe weather to New Zealand

The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management is advising people to prepare for possible severe weather this weekend.

The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton, said the Ministry and the MetService are working together, monitoring Tropical Cyclone Lusi as it moves from Vanuatu, past Fiji to New Zealand.

At this stage, computer models expect Lusi to arrive over northern New Zealand on Saturday or early Sunday, and then to track southwards over central New Zealand before moving out to sea east of the South Island on Monday.

Cyclone Lusi is expected to transition into a sub-tropical weather system as it approaches New Zealand, but it is still expected to be a dangerous storm. Severe weather is likely to affect many regions during this event, especially over the weekend from Northland down to Canterbury.

Based on current information, adverse weather conditions may be widespread including:

• Heavy rain for the northeast of the North Island from Northland to Bay of Plenty and northern Gisborne. Heavy rain also for the northeast of the South Island including Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury (possibly including Christchurch which is particularly vulnerable due to its already saturated state).

• Gale force winds for most areas of the North Island and upper South Island, with severe or damaging gales in some places depending on the track of the low.

• Large coastal waves and storm surge for the northeast of the North Island, especially from Northland to Bay of Plenty.

As cyclone Lusi approaches New Zealand, people are advised to keep up to date with official weather warnings and forecasts from MetService in the coming days.

Detailed advice about what to do before, during and after storms is at www.getthru.govt.nz

Mr Hamilton said with winter approaching we should expect storms as part or our normal seasonal weather, and all households and work places should be prepared.

Before a storm

• Develop a Household Emergency Plan. Assemble and maintain your Emergency Survival Items for your home as well as a portable getaway kit.

• Prepare your property for high winds. Secure large heavy objects or remove any item which can become a deadly or damaging missile. Get your roof checked regularly to make sure it is secure. List items that may need to be secured or moved indoors when strong winds are forecast.

• Keep materials at hand for repairing windows, such as tarpaulins, boards and duct tape.

• If you are renovating or building, make sure all work complies with the New Zealand building code which has specific standards to minimize storm damage.

• If farming, know which paddocks are safe to move livestock away from floodwaters, landslides and power lines.

When a warning is issued and during a storm

• Stay informed on weather updates. Listen to your local radio stations as civil defence authorities will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.

• Put your household emergency plan into action and check your getaway kit in case you have to leave in a hurry.

• Secure, or move indoors, all items that could get blown about and cause harm in strong winds.

• Close windows, external and internal doors. Pull curtains and drapes over unprotected glass areas to prevent injury from shattered or flying glass.

• If the wind becomes destructive, stay away from doors and windows and shelter further inside the house.

• Water supplies can be affected so it is a good idea to store drinking water in containers and fill bathtubs and sinks with water.

• Don't walk around outside and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.

• Power cuts are possible in severe weather. Unplug small appliances which may be affected by electrical power surges. If power is lost unplug major appliances to reduce the power surge and possible damage when power is restored.

• Bring pets inside. Move stock to shelter. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.

After a storm

• Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.

• Check for injuries and help others if you can, especially people who require special assistance.

• Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

• Contact your local council if your house or building has been severely damaged.

• If your property or contents are damaged take notes and photographs and contact your insurance company. Inform your landlord if there is damage to the rental property.

• Ask your council for advice on how to clean up debris safely.

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