Forecast updated to weather watch for Cyclone
Friday, 13 March 2015 4:00 p.m.
Media release 2 - 4pm 13 March 2015
Bay of Plenty residents should be preparing for Tropical Cyclone Pam’s arrival over the next few days.
Bay of Plenty Civil Defence says while not enough detail is known yet about how the cyclone will track, it’s expected to bring high winds, heavy rain and very large swells, particularly in the eastern part of the region.
The forecast was recently updated to a Weather Watch, with gale south easterlies predicted for northern parts of the country on late Sunday and Monday.
Cyclone Pam, currently located near Vanuatu, is forecast to track southwards over the coming days and pass east of the country during Monday and Tuesday. There is some uncertainty as to how close to the North Island the eventual cyclone track will be, however, it has the potential to be a significant event, with strong south to southeast winds and rain expected over much of the North Island during Monday.
Severe gales are predicted on Sunday evening for Northland and Coromandel, and the eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne early Monday morning, before easing Tuesday morning. Swells and rips are likely to be very dangerous around North Island eastern and northern beaches.
Civil Defence Emergency Management Regional Manager Clinton Naude said the worst of the weather was expected on Monday or Tuesday, but until the cyclone tracked nearer to landfall, it was difficult to predict how damaging it might be in the Bay.
All businesses should check their premises before they close down for the weekend, securing outdoor furniture or any other loose items outdoors which could become dangerous in high winds.
Regional Harbour Master Peter Buell said boat owners should check their moorings and ensure their boats were secure, with hatches closed and sails tied down before the storm arrived. Loose equipment needed to be stored securely and gas bottles closed. Boaties should also make sure they had a current mooring certificate for insurance purposes in case their boat was torn from its mooring in the storm.
The Regional Council’s Operations team has been doing pre weather event checks on pumps and flapgates, and closing flood gates that were opened during summer dry periods, Duty Flood Manager Roger Waugh said.
“A major stopbank construction in the eastern Bay is now up to design height and will be left secure later today. Contractors and staff working in and around the rivers will also leave sites and machines secure tonight,” he said.
Systems have been checked and staff will be on standby throughout the weekend.
Homeowners should clear their gutters, secure outdoor furniture and rubbish bins which could blow around in high winds. It is also a good opportunity to check emergency provisions and ensure you have a working torch, extra batteries and that the family’s emergency supplies are up to date.
Farmers should ensure equipment was safely stored and animals were in a safe place or moved to higher ground if necessary, away from power lines and potential landslides.