Cyclone Gabrielle

PHOTO: Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone Gabrielle is expected to bring another wave of flooding next week, so what should you do if the water level in your house rises?

The cyclone is forecast to start hitting Northland at 1am Sunday, with the full effects likely to be felt on Monday and Tuesday. There are weather warnings in place for Northland, Auckland including Great Barrier Island, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.

Experts say the cyclone is said to be one of the worst storms expected to hit this century and has now intensified into a “severe category three”.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown urged Aucklanders last week to prepare for the next big weather event, bringing torrential rain and risk of flooding.

“The direct path of Cyclone Gabrielle is uncertain at this stage, and while we are hoping for the best, we must all be prepared for the worst,” Mayor Brown said.

Auckland Emergency Management’s Deputy Controller Rachel Kelleher said her team is working with the Mayor’s Office and Auckland council to ensure the region is prepared for what Cyclone Gabrielle could bring.

“Our key message for the community is to use the next few days to get ready for what could be another significant event,” she said.

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Kelleher said Auckland Emergency Management is preparing to open a number of additional Civil Defence Centres across the region for people needing to evacuate.

FENZ Auckland City District manager Vaughan Mackereth’s told AM’s Ryan Bridge on Friday morning that if you are in your home and see flood waters enter your property to call Civil Defence and report that your property is flooding as soon as possible.

“If your life is in danger, or there is a landslide happening on your property or above you, call 111,” he said.

Mackereth also reminded people to stay off the roads, as it reduces the risk of being trapped by flooding or hit by a falling tree.

With a new cyclone on the way, emergency flooding is a serious possibility for anyone no matter the circumstances.

The best way to stay safe during flooding is to be prepared on what you should be doing if it happens in your household, how to keep safe, and where to go during the crisis.

Here’s a guide on what to do when your house begins to flood:

Rising Floodwaters

  • Put safety first, don’t do anything reckless or dangerous
  • Act quickly, and grab important emergency items
  • Listen to emergency services and local Civil Defence authorities
  • Self-evacuate if you feel unsafe
  • Lift curtains, rugs and bedding off the floor
  • Check on neighbours if it is safe to do so

Home Evacuation

  • Once people in your household have safely evacuated the premises, call for help.
  • Your focus during an evacuation should be on you and your loved ones rather than the damage to the house
  • Turn all electricity and power off
  • Ensure that no one is still inside when evacuating the property
  • If anyone is injured or needs help, call 111 to get the recovery process underway
  • Keep up to date with evacuation sites on Auckland Emergency Management.

What to take with you

  • A bag to put items in
  • Phone + Phone Charger
  • Non Perishable food
  • Warm clothing
  • A pair of shoes
  • Rain Jacket
  • Bottle of water
  • Other people from your household
  • Any important medication
  • Baby/Pet food

Note: You may want to have this bag already prepared ahead of time

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Moving through Floodwaters

  • Never try to walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Many flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water.
  • Don’t drive through floodwaters
  • Be cautious of hidden objects if walking through floodwaters
  • Don’t swim as there are potential health risks linked with contaminated water
  • If possible, stay inside until it is safe to leave

Who to contact

  • 111 Police, Fire and Ambulance
  • Phone 0800 22 22 00 for urgent flooding issues and assistance.
  • 105 for non-emergencies

It is important to keep up to date with the latest on Cyclone Gabrielle through MetService forecasts as parts or all of these Watches may be upgraded to Warnings, and further areas will likely be added.