FOR STORMS IN NEW ZEALAND
can destroy roads, railways, bridges and buildings. Crops
can be ruined and livestock killed. At sea, ships are
at risk (the ferry Wahine sank during Cyclone Giselle
in 1968, with the loss of 51 lives). Dangers from storms
include fallen trees and poles, torn-off roofs, fast-flowing
currents in streams and rivers, flying objects, landslides,
and flooding. Coastal areas can suffer from storm surges,
which are extra-high waves caused by low pressure in the
air above the sea that causes the sea-level to rise.
TO PREPARE FOR A STORM IN NEW ZEALAND
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 minimise storm damage.
* If farming, know which paddocks are safe to move livestock
away from floodwaters, landslides and power lines.
WHEN A STORM 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
* 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.
In a snowstorm, the primary concerns are the potential
loss of heat, power and telephone service, and a shortage
of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than
a day. It is important for people living in areas at risk
from snowstorms to consider the need for alternative forms
of heating and power generation.Avoid leaving home unless
absolutely necessary when a snow warning is issued.
* If you have to travel make sure you are well prepared
with snow chains, sleeping bags, warm clothing and essential
* At home, check fuel supplies for woodburners, gas heaters,
barbeques and generators.
* Bring pets inside. Move domestic animals and stock to
* If you are caught in your car or truck in a snowstorm,
stay in your vehicle. Run the engine every ten minutes
to keep warm. Drink fluids to avoid dehydration. Open
the window a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
* Make yourself visible to rescuers by tying a bright-coloured
cloth to your radio aerial or door and keeping the inside
* Tornadoes sometimes occur during thunderstorms in some
parts of New Zealand. A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating
column of air extending downwards to the ground from the
base of a thunderstorm.
* Warning signs include a long, continuous roar or rumble
or a fast approaching cloud of debris which can sometimes
be funnel shaped.
* Alert others if you can.
* Take shelter immediately. A basement offers the greatest
safety. If underground shelter is not available, move to
an interior room without windows on the lowest floor. Get
under sturdy furniture and cover yourself with a mattress
* If caught outside, get away from trees if you can. Lie
down flat in a nearby gully, ditch or low spot and protect
* If in a car, get out immediately and look for a safe place
* Do not try to outrun a tornado or get under the vehicle
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
* 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