Summer is around the corner. In Auckland, we are often blessed with hot sunny days, but our tropical climate also means there’s the chance of sudden downpours and stormy weather.
Aucklanders are encouraged to add ‘storm prep’ to their holiday to-do list. A few simple things done early will ensure any unsettled weather won’t disrupt holiday season plans.
“It is very common for summer storms to surprise people because they happen so quickly and unexpectedly. A little pre-planning and maintenance can make all the difference,” Auckland Emergency Management General Manager Paul Amaral says.
“Although summer storms usually last a very short time, they tend to be very dangerous. This is due to the intensity of the rain and potential for strong winds and tornados that sometimes accompany them.”
Paul encourages Aucklanders to take some time over the next few weekends to do little jobs like clearing gutters, checking drains and taking stock of what around your house should be covered, stored or tied down during a storm.
“Late December to April is also the prime season for Pacific cyclones. Cyclones usually weaken as they meet the cooler sea temperatures around New Zealand, so they are not classified as cyclones by the time they reach our shores. However, these ‘ex-tropical cyclones’ remain dangerous and cause major damage. We keep close contact with MetService to ensure that we’re ready for any unsettled weather.”
“Keeping track of the weather forecast is an important part of staying 'storm prepped' for summer. Whether you are in Auckland for the holiday period or are travelling to see friends and whānau outside of the region, it’s always a good idea to check what the weather is doing in that area and remember, if the weather takes a turn for the worst, always follow the instructions of local authorities.”
Summer storm tips
Before a storm
- 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.
- Make trees more wind-resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs.
- Green waste and tree removal services may be unavailable just before a storm arrives, so it is best to do this regularly rather than leave it until severe weather is forecast.
- Clear away leaves and other debris from gutter and drains to prevent blockage and flooding or water damage.
- 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, you should have an alternate plan in place for if the power goes out.
- If where you live is isolated or you may get cut off, make sure you’ve got everything you need to keep going for a day or two
When severe weather is forecast
- Bring inside or tie down anything that can be broken or picked up by strong winds, such as outdoor furniture.
- If you have a trampoline, turn it upside down to minimise the surface area exposed to wind.
- Remove any debris or loose items from around your property. Branches and firewood may become missiles in strong winds.
- Clear debris and leaves from external drains and gutters to prevent overflow or water damage in heavy rain.
- Bring pets indoors. They can be unsettled by storms and it is more comforting and safer for them to be with you.
- Ensure livestock are not gathered under an isolated tree or anything that presents a risk from a lightning strike.
- Moor boats securely or move to a designated safe location.
- Use rope or chain to secure boat trailers. Use tie-downs to anchor a trailer to the ground or to a building.
During a storm
- Listen to advice provided by Auckland Emergency Management and emergency services and follow any instructions.
- Secure your whare/home and critical buildings by closing windows and shutters, if you have them. Pull curtains and blinds over windows. This can prevent injury from flying glass if the window breaks.
- Close all interior and external doors. Closed doors will help prevent damaging winds from entering rooms.
- Take extreme care with items that may conduct electricity if your whare/home is struck by lightning
After a storm
- 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 floodwaters and always drive to the conditions.
- Report fallen trees, blocked drains or debris on public property to Auckland Council online.
- Contact your insurance company or insurance broker as soon as possible. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
For more tips on severe weather and storms, visit our website.