Plan ahead for summer storms

Publish Date : 21 Dec 2018
Flooding image

Summer storms can be a nuisance during the holidays but thinking ahead will help lessen the impacts of nasty weather.

Auckland Emergency Management Acting Director Sarah Sinclair says the region may be in for some wet weather during the festive break, so some pre-holiday planning might help.

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

“We’re keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts and it currently looks like the Auckland region might be in for a good dumping of rain over the next week or so.

“Some parts of the region are already saturated so we may see flooding in low-lying areas and places taking a little longer to drain or dry out."

Now is the time to do pre-storm checks 

“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.

Never drive through floodwaters

“If you’re out and about and you encounter floodwaters, don’t be tempted to drive on through as you don’t know how deep water might be or what might be hidden under the surface.

“Similarly, watch out for debris or even larger items that can cause damage – in the worst circumstances, even parked cars will float!”

Always have a plan

“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,” says Ms Sinclair.

“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.”

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

Check weather forecasts

“It’s important to check weather forecasts frequently for updates or changes. At the moment we’re experiencing some quite intense thunder storms that bring deluges of rain – that kind of intensity can overwhelm even the best of stormwater networks, especially when water just runs off waterlogged surfaces.

King tides in late December

Rainy forecasts for 24-27 December also coincide with high (‘king’) tides that will particularly affect Auckland’s east coast.

“We’ll be watching areas like Esmonde Road and Tamaki Drive for inundation and the transport agencies may need to temporarily close roads if there is any danger to motorists.

“With a 10am high tide on Tamaki Drive on Christmas Day, drivers might be wise to alter their route or factor in a little more travel time, just in case of delays,” says Ms Sinclair.

Follow Auckland Emergency Management on Twitter (@AucklandCDEM), on Facebook (@aklcdem) or visit

Visit to make a plan for your family.

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 on 09 301 0101.
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