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Northland largely unscathed in Pam’s wake

 
Northland appears to have escaped the aftermath of Cyclone Pam largely unscathed.
Updated: 16/03/2015 10:17 a.m.

​Tony Phipps, Group Controller for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says as of 7.15am today officials had no reports of serious damage or injury linked to the arrival of the cyclone yesterday.

Mr Phipps says Northland Regional Council figures showed the highest rainfall between yesterday afternoon and early this morning had been 67.5mm at Glenbervie, just east of Whangarei while the maximum wind gust recorded at Cape Reinga yesterday had been 118.5kph.

“Emergency services have reported a quiet night with few storm-related incidents although daylight may reveal some damage that we are as-yet unaware of given the heavy seas off Northland’s east coast overnight.”

Mr Phipps says given the devastation and misery Pam had caused in the Pacific, Northland – which often bears the initial brunt of tropical cyclones that reach New Zealand – had been fortunate it had eased as predicted as it drew closer.

“Our thoughts are now with those in the Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Bay of Plenty areas which are expected to feel Pam’s effects a bit more severely.”

News Release distributed on Sunday 15 March

Northland appears set to be spared the worst of the remains of Cyclone Pam – but officials are still warning of severe gales and heavy rain this afternoon and overnight.

Shona Morgan, spokesperson for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says as expected, latest forecasts show the Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Bay of Plenty areas will be the parts of New Zealand hardest hit by the storm.

However, just after 8.30am today MetService forecasters had also issued new heavy rain and strong wind warnings for eastern Northland, predicting 80mm to 100 mm of rain could fall in the 18 hours between midday today and 6am Monday.

Forecasters also warned of gale force south-easterlies for eastern parts of Northland this afternoon; these could rise to severe gales gusting up to 120km/h this evening, before tending southerly and weakening Monday morning.  There was a possibility of similar winds in remaining parts of Northland over the same period.

Ms Morgan says the latest forecasts reinforce earlier Civil Defence warnings for Northlanders to take the usual precautions for strong winds and rain, including securing large heavy objects or anything that could be potentially dangerous.

Similarly, motorists should postpone any unnecessary travel from midday today until tomorrow morning, when the worst of the weather is expected to have past.

Given the big seas expected as a result of the storm, by now yachties should also have already checked their moorings and ensured their vessels are properly secured. 

Ms Morgan says while the weather is likely to make things unpleasant over the rest of the weekend and into tomorrow morning, Northlanders were not unfamiliar with rain and winds like those currently predicted.

“Provided people take the usual precautions and adopt a common sense approach, we are not anticipating too many issues beyond those these conditions would normally bring.”

However, she says given the changeable nature of weather, Northlanders should keep an eye out for any new forecasts as they’re issued today.

“Civil Defence will continue to monitor the situation closely over the remainder of the weekend and will update the public as required, including through the Northland CDEM Group’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/civildefencenorthland

Ms Morgan says General Civil Defence information is also available from the Northland Regional Council’s website www.nrc.govt.nz/civildefence

The NRC homepage with latest news releases

NRC homepage and news releases

 

News Release distributed on Friday 13 March

Civil Defence teams are monitoring the situation, keeping a close eye on the latest forecasts and advise the public to be prepared.

Keep an eye on Cyclone Pam’s progress over the weekend and be sensibly prepared for rough weather, but keep things in perspective, is the advice today to Northlanders from the region’s Civil Defence team.

Cyclone Pam, currently located near Vanuatu, is forecast to track south over the next few days and pass east of New Zealand, including Northland, during Monday and Tuesday.

MetService forecasters today confirmed that at this stage there’s still some uncertainty as to how close to the North Island the cyclone will track – and what sort of punch it might still pack by then – but say it has the potential to be a significant event.

Given that, the MetService today issued severe weather watches for both wind and rain in Northland, saying there’s the possibility of south to south-east gales – possibly severe for a time – on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Rain is expected to become heavy for eastern Northland from Sunday evening, then ease late Monday morning with the possibility of more than 80mm falling over 18 hours.

Graeme MacDonald, spokesman for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, says given the worst of the predicted weather is still a couple of days away, Northlanders are being advised to keep a close eye on MetService forecasts as they’re issued.

He says rain and winds of the type currently being forecast mean it would be prudent for Northlanders to take the usual precautions for strong winds and rain, including securing large heavy objects or anything that could be potentially dangerous.

Similarly, it would be sensible for motorists to postpone any unnecessary plans for travel over the period the worst of the weather is expected and – with some potentially big seas possible – for yachties to check their moorings and ensure vessels are properly secured ahead of any storm. 

However, Mr MacDonald urges Northlanders to keep things in perspective.

“At this stage, again probably the most sensible thing people can do is to remain calm and ensure they keep abreast of the latest forecasts, because things can obviously change for the worse.”

He says Civil Defence will be monitoring the situation closely over the early part of the weekend and will update the public as required, including through the Northland CDEM Group’s Facebook page.

Link to the Northland CDEM Facebook Page

General Civil Defence information is also available from the Northland Regional Council’s website.
 
 

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